Herbert Allan Hill

Totley War Memorial WW1 1914-1918

Herbert Allan Hill
EnlargeHerbert Allan Hill
Herbert Allan Hill
EnlargeHerbert Allan Hill
Herbert Allan Hill was born in a cottage on Fox Lane, Greenhill in 1888.

He was the third son and fourth child of William Colin Hill, a gardener, and his wife Mary Ellen Hill nee Scothern. On 24 January 1889 he was baptized at St James's Church, Norton, along with his brother Cecil Graham Hill.

The family were living on Abbey Lane, Beauchief, in 1891 and on Census night, Sunday 2 April, Herbert's aunt Ann Scothern was visiting them.

By 1901 the Hills had moved to Lemont Road in Totley and two younger sisters, Ella and Gladys, had joined the family. Herbert, like his father and two older brothers, was working as a market gardener. William Colin Hill started his own nursery business in partnership with Mr Pearson at St George's Farm on Mickley Lane. In later years he had Totley Bank Nursery and then Dore Road Nursery which stood on the land which is now Ryecroft Glen Road.

In 1908, at the age of 20, Herbert decided to join the Territorial Army. He signed his Attestation papers on 2 April and became a volunteer in 4th (Hallamshire) Battalion of the York and Lancaster Regiment. No doubt he enjoyed the training weekends and annual summer training camp that he would have been required to attend.

He was discharged at the end of his two year term and went back to purely civilian life working for his father's nursery business during the day and doubtless having a good time with his friends in the evening. It's possible that he played cricket for Totley Mission Cricket Club as his older brother Colin did.

Fox Lane cottage
EnlargeFox Lane cottage
When the 1911 census was taken only Herbert and his youngest sister Gladys were still living with their parents on Lemont Road. Mabel, Colin, Cecil and Ella had all married and set up their own homes. Herbert was still working as a jobbing gardener for his father's small firm of Colin Hill & Sons of Green Oak.

William Colin Hill
EnlargeWilliam Colin Hill
On 11 July 1912 the Hill family gathered at St John's Church, Abbeydale, to see Herbert marry Mary Jane Moore. The young couple moved into Brook Vale Cottage on Back Lane, Totley and life went quietly on until August 1914 and the start of WW1.

Herbert rejoined the Hallamshires on 9 August and on his medical inspection report he is described as being 5ft 4 1/2 inches tall with a 35 inch chest and weighing 140 lbs. He was now service number 2176 Private Hill.

Herbert's older brother Colin was also a serving soldier and fought in the 1916-1918 Balkan Campaign as part of the Army of the Orient. Happily Colin survived although he suffered for the rest of his life with recurring malaria, contracted in Salonika.

The Hallamshires remained in the UK on home defence moving to various camps around the country.

Brook Vale Cottage
EnlargeBrook Vale Cottage
They formed part of the 187th Brigade in the 62nd (2nd West Riding) Division. Private Hill had advanced quickly through the ranks and on 15 March 1916 he was promoted to Sergeant. Finally on 13 January 1917 the Hallamshires sailed from Southampton for France landing at Le Havre on the 14th.

On 3 May 1917 the 62nd Division were ordered to attack the Hindenburg Line and the village of Bullecourt. This attack failed and the 2/4th Yorks and Lancs, including Sgt. Hill's 'A' Company, became hung up on thick barbed wire. Casualties for the 62nd West Riding Division on this day numbered 2,976 men killed, wounded or missing in action.

This is the day that Herbert Hill was recorded as "wounded and missing". He must have been taken from the battlefield by German soldiers as he is noted as being "Prisoner of War at Limburg" on 14 May 1917.

Limburg was a prisoner of war camp on the River Lahn in Germany. It had a camp hospital and this must be where Herbert died of his wounds on 5 June 1917. He is now buried in Grave V.F.13 at Tournai Communal Cemetery Allied Extension in Belgium.

In the early 1920s his father and other members of the family were able to visit the grave and see Herbert's final resting place.

Totley War Memorial Project Group