Private 45725 Walter Hill

Hill Walter 96 379x600Hill Walter 96 419x600

Killed in Action on Saturday, 5th January 1918, age 36.
Buried in Grave II. D. 7. at Jeancourt Communal Cemetery Extension, Aisne, France.

3rd (King's Own) Hussars. 4th Cavalry Brigade of 2nd Cavalry Division.
Formerly 55830 3rd Hussars.

Husband of Mrs Walter Hill, of 214 Birmingham Road, Burnt Tree, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Burton-on-Trent, Enlisted: Birmingham, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 18th August 1914.
Medal entitlement: 1914 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/236657/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Walter Hill registered September quarter 1881 in Burton.

1901 Census
11 Jackson Street, Oldbury, Staffs.
John Hill (43, Plumber, born Ashbourne, Derbyshire), and his wife Agnes (41, born Branston, Staffs).
No sign of Walter - possibly serving in the army in South Africa.

1911 Census
56 Tividale Road, Tipton, Staffs.
John Hill (53, Plumber, born Ashbourne, Derbyshire), his wife Agnes (52, born Branston, Staffs), and 2 of their 4 surviving children of 11: Walter (32, Tram Conductor, born Burton-upon-Trent), and George (25, Tram Conductor, born Burton-upon-Trent).

Marriage of Walter Hill and Lillian M. Davies registered March quarter 1914 in Dudley.

Personal Data

Walter Hill (born Burton-upon-Trent, living in Langley) is shown as enlisting with the South Staffs in 1899. Given the place of birth and residence, and we know from a newspaper article that Walter served in South Africa, this is likely to be 'our' Walter Hill.

As Walter landed in France on 18th August 1914, he was either still a regular soldier, or a reservist called up at the outbreak of war. After his death, his widow Lillian received his outstanding pay and allowances of £8/14/4d (8 pounds, 14 shillings and 4 pence), and his War Gratuity of £20/0/0d.

Action resulting in his death

A company of the 3rd Hussars had been converted to ‘dismounted’ and served as infantry. This company had been involved in the latter stages of the Battle of Cambrai, and served with some distinction in Bourlon Wood in late November 1917.

Their War Diary entry of 18th December 1917 says: “3rd Hussars Dismounted Company to join the 4th Dismounted Brigade for duty in trenches at Villeret.” Villeret is about 15 miles south of Cambrai, and about a mile to the west of Bellicourt on the Hindenburg Line, so famously taken by the 46th (North Midlands) Division on 29th September 1918.

This area of trenches, just to the east of Villeret, was considered quiet at that time. Although the opposing trenches were fairly close together, it was seen as an easy posting. Despite this view, there was still shelling, and Walter Hill was killed by a high explosive shell which landed in the trench where he was stationed. Walter is buried in Jeancourt Communal Cemetery Extension.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald 26th January 1918
HILL: Killed in action in France, January 6th 1918, Private Walter Hill. Deeply mourned by his sorrowing wife and sadly missed by all who knew him. Till we meet at Jesu's feet.
Mrs Walter Hill, 214 Birmingham Road, Burnt Tree, thanks all kind friends for their sympathy in her sad bereavement.

Tipton Herald 9th February 1918
A large circle of friends will sincerely regret to hear of the death of Private W. Hill, who fought through the South African War, and before that was a conductor on the Dudley and Handsworth tram cars. Information has now been received that he was killed in the trenches. The following letter from the officer commanding the squadron of Hussars to which Private W. Hill belonged explains the sad circumstances:- "Dear Madam, I much regret to have to inform you of the death of your husband, Private W. Hill. I have only just got your address, or I would have written sooner. He was killed in the trenches. A high-explosive shell burst alongside him, and he must have died instantaneously. I cannot speak too highly of your husband, he was one of those keen soldiers who was always to the front whether in the field of battle, or at play. He was liked by his officers, and most popular with his fellows. He was a gallant soldier, a good comrade, and he has died for his country. Killed in action, I can say no more than that for I know of no higher praise."