Private 16787 Thomas Hill

Hill Thomas 96 422x600

Killed in Action on Thursday, 2nd August 1917, age 23.

Buried in Grave LXV. F. 5. at Tyne Cot Cemetery, Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

3rd Bn., Worcestershire Regiment. 7th Brigade of 25th Division.
Formerly 16787 11th Worcestershire Regiment.

Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Birmingham, Resident: Birmingham.

First landed France & Flanders, 22nd September 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Not commemorated on any Tipton memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/463172/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
156 Schofield Street, Aston, Birmingham.
Frederick Hill (42, Brass Dresser, born Birmingham), his wife Emma (37, born Tipton), and their 6 children: Frederick (14, Brass Dresser, born Aston), Gertrude (12, born Liverpool), Ellen (8, born Kilmarnock), Thomas (7, born Tipton), William (1, born Birmingham), and Elsie (1, born Birmingham). Also James Hasdell (29, Visitor, General Labourer, born Tipton).

1911 Census
170 Great Francis Street, Birmingham.
Frederick Hill (52, Brass Worker, born Birmingham), his wife Emma (47, born Tipton), and their 6 surviving children of 7: Frederick (24, Brass Worker, born Aston), Gertrude (22, Wire Worker in Cycle Trade, born Liverpool), Ellen (18, Rubber Worker, born Kilmarnock), Thomas (17, Machine Hand in Cycle Shop, born Tipton), William (11, born Birmingham), and Elsie (11, born Birmingham).

Personal Data

Thomas's family moved around the country, presumably due to his father's work. His mother Emma was born in Tipton, but of the 6 children, only Thomas was born in Tipton where they were living for a time around 1894.

Thomas nominated his mother, Emma, as his next of kin. After his death she received his outstanding army pay and allowances in November 1917, this amounted to £9/6/8d (9 pounds, 6 shillings and 8 pence). In October 1919 Emma also received his War Gratuity of £13/10/0d (13 pounds and 10 shillings). This value with his date of death suggests that Thomas enlisted in August 1914.

Action resulting in his death

Thomas initially served with the 11th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment, but by the time of his death he had transferred to the 3rd Battalion. As his records did not survive, we cannot tell when the transfer took place, but it may well have been after recovering from a wound or sickness.

The Third Battle of Ypres began on 31st July 1917; the 3rd Worcesters were in Corps Reserve near Belgian Chateau at Vlamertinge. On 1st August the Battalion moved up to Halfway House dugouts (north of Zillebeke), ready to relieve the 8th Division if their attack was successful. It was not, so the Worcesters remained at Halfway House dugouts until 2nd August when they moved into a Support position on the Bellewaarde Ridge where they stayed until 5th August.

Heavy rain fell continuously making the ground a quagmire and causing intense discomfort to the troops, who had no cover whatsoever. They were heavily shelled throughout this period, including a large number from the new gas shells. On the 2nd August the 3rd Worcesters had 15 men killed, including Thomas Hill.

Thomas's body lay where he was killed for over 3 years, this was on the Bellewaarde Ridge near a trench called Jabber Avenue. In February 1921 Thomas's body was found and identified by the disc with his name and number, and on 24th February he was buried in Tyne Cot Cemetery.

Newspaper Cuttings