Hill, George

The 1871 Census on shows us that the Hill family were living at The Square, Allithwaite, Lancashire which was in the Ecclesiastical District of St. Mary Lower.

The Head of the family was Richard Hill, age 35 born in Westmorland, Kendal, he was a Stonemason by trade.

His wife Sarah was 28 years of age born in St. Asaph, Flintshire and their children at that time were Richard age 5,born in Carnforth Lancashire and Emma age 2 born in Allithwaite, Lancashire.

Ten years on we are advised by the 1881 Census on that the family are now living at 2 Belgrave St. West Derby, Liverpool.

The head of the household at this time was Sarah Hill age 39, a Widow, with her trade shown as Publican.

Still living at home were Richard age 15, a Plastere by trade and Emma age 13. There are two additions to the family, Elaenor age 7 and George age 2 both children born in Allithwaite.

The 1891 Census reveals that only Sarah Hill ( Head) age 48 a Charwoman and George age 12 a Labourer and Cow Boy are living at Cornel, St. Asaph, Flintshire.

I cannot locate the family on the 1901 Census but in 1911 Sarah age 68  and George Hill age 32, Single, a Blacksmith by trade, were living at Beech Cottage, Pen Rhewl, St. Asaph.

According to the information supplied by the Clwyd Family History Society, George Hill married Alice Hill sometime after 1911, but I have not been able to uncover a Marriage Registration for this marriage. The name given as Next of Kin on the Soldiers effects register is Elizabeth A.

After this time I cannot find a Service Record  for George Hill.

We know from Soldiers who Died in the Great War 1914-1920 on that he enlisted into the Denbighshire Pioneer Regiment of the Royal Engineers at Wrexham and when he died on 21st April 1918 he was serving with the 305th Road Construction Company, Roads and Quarries of the Royal Engineers. His Regimental Number was WR/20918 and his rank was Sapper.

He would have been awarded The British War Medal and The Victory medal.

The rank of Sapper was the Royal Engineers way of denoting men with recognised trades/skills etc. and who had passed the requisite Trades tests.

WW1, Royal Engineer tunnelling companies, nicknamed “the Moles”, were specialist units of the Corps of Royal Engineers within the British Army, formed to dig attacking tunnels under enemy lines during the First World War. They designed and built the frontline fortifications, creating cover for the infantry and positions for the artillery. It was in the hands of the technically skilled RE’s to develop responses to chemical and underground warfare. And without the RE’s the infantry and artillery would have soon been powerless, as they maintained their weapons. 
The RE’s maintained the railways, roads, water supply, bridges and transport – allowing supplies to the armies. They operated the railways and inland waterways, maintained wireless, telephones and other signalling equipment, making sure communications existed. The Royal Engineers grew into a large and complex organisation, by the 1 August 1914, the RE consisted of 1056 officers and 10394 men of the regular army and Special Reserve, plus another 513 and 13127 respectively serving with the RE of the Territorial Force. The officers and men manned 26 coastal defence Fortress Companies (of which 15 were overseas), 7 Signal Companies, 2 Cable and Airline (signalling) Companies, 15 Field Companies, 3 Survey Companies, 2 Railway Companies, and miscellaneous other units. There were also 9 Depot companies carrying out training and administrative duties, as well as various Schools.
In 1915, in response to German mining of British trenches under the then static siege conditions of World War One, the corps formed its own tunnelling companies. Manned by experienced coal miners from across the country, they operated with great success until 1917, when after the fixed positions broke, they built deep dugouts such as the Vampire dugout to protect troops from heavy shelling. By 1 August 1917, it had grown to a total of 295668. It was twelve times bigger than the peacetime establishment.

Sapper WR/20918 George Hill was Buried at Molliens au Bois Communal Cemetery, Somme, France.

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