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  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone marking his grave at Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery, Belgium. Photograph Murray Biddle
Person Details
Francis (Frank) William was the son of Arthur William and Florence Alithea Hill (née Severn). His father Arthur William was bon in Stamford, Lincolnshire, in 1874 (A/M/J Stamford) and his mother Florence Alithea in 1871 (O/N/D Sheffield). Arthur and Florence were married at Small St John church in 1885 (J/F/M Belper Derbyshire) and had two sons, Francis (Frank) William in Ripley Derbyshire in 1895 (A/M/J Belper) and John Arthur b. Long Eaton Derbyshire in 1898 (J/A/S Shardlow). In 1901 Arthur (26) a railway porter and Florence (29) were living at 2 New Tythe Street, Long Eaton, with their sons Francis (5) and John (2). Also in the household was a boarder, GF Booth, a railway signalman. The family had moved to 15 Redcliffe Street, Mansfield, by 1911; Arthur was now a railway passenger guard. They were still living at the same address was Frank was killed in 1915. By 1939 when the England & Wales Register was compiled they were living on Stella Street, Mansfield; Arthur had retired. He probably died in 1957 (A/M/J Mansfield). Their second son, John Arthur, attested on 12 December 1916. He was posted initially to the 5th Reserve Bn West Yorkshire Regiment and later to the 1st Bn. He served at home from December 1916 until 16 March 1918 then drafted to France on 17 March. He was admitted to hospital on 18 April and rejoined the battalion from Rest Camp on 24 July but was wounded in action the following day. He returned to duty and rejoined his battalion on 1 August 1918. He returned to the UK on 26 September and remained on home service until his discharge on 28 February 1919 (transferred to Class 'A' A Reserve).
Attended Brunts School and St Peter's Sunday School. He worked in the offices of Messrs. Bradley’s Mill.
15 Jun 1915
20
155157 - CWGC Website
2410
15 Redcliffe Road, Mansfield.
Private
1/8th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
1/8th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment) Frank served in France from 25 February 1915. The 1/8th battalion was in the area of Kemmel in 1915 and early in June 'took over more of the J and K trenches, with the reserve company at Siege Farm and Battalion Headquarters at Rossignol Farm.' ('History of the 1/8th Bn Sherwood Foresters 1914-1919', Capt. WCC Weetman) Frank died in the trenches on 15 June 1915 from a wound to the abdomen after being shot by a German sniper. On the same day the enemy, whose trenches were within 60-70 yards of the battalion's front line, exploded three mines, one of which blew up a portion of J3 Right trench, killing Pte OL Bryan and Pte A Cook (Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial). Some enemy soldiers got into the mine crater but were repelled by 'C' Company. The battalion's casualties that day included two officers, a corporal and eight men killed. Frank was buried in Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery, Belgium (grave ref. D. 66).
CWGC headstone personal inscription: 'Ever in our thoughts' 1/8th Bn casualties, 15 June 1915: Lieutenant AFO Dobson (grave ref. D.64), Lieutenant WH Hollins (D.70), Corporal F Wilcox (D.71), Privates AE Armitage (D.65), B Cox (D.67), FW Hill (D.66), P May (D.72), RW Moakes (D.69) and W Richardson (D.68) buried Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery and Privates OL Bryan and A Cook commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. Mansfield Chronicle Advertiser; 24 June 1915. Report of the memorial service held at St Peter's for the 26 men from St Peter's who had been killed in the first 10 months of the war. Mansfield Reporter, 25 June 1915: ‘8th Sherwood Foresters’ Ranks Thinned' 'Private FW Hill of the 8th Sherwoods, lived at 15, Redcliffe-road, Mansfield, and was the son of Mr and Mrs A Hill. He was of a bright and obliging disposition, and was held in high esteemed by many acquaintances. Like Lance-Corporal Wilson [Charles Wilson, 1/8th Bn killed 15 January] he was an Old Brunts’ scholar, and prior to enlisting in September last, was employed in the office of Messrs. Bradley’s Mill. Information of his death comes from a comrade, Private H Hall, who worked with him at Bradley’s Mill, and who wrote:- ‘A few lines which are causing me much grief, to let you know that your son Frank was killed in action at about midday … Everything possible was done for him in little or no time. I assure you he suffered no pain; he died in about five minutes. I had just laid down in his place when I heard someone about, and, to my horror, I saw it was poor Frank.’ In a letter of sympathy received by Mr and Mrs Hill, Lieut Col. JH Fowler, of the 8th Sherwood Foresters, writes; ‘I am very sorry to have to write and inform you that your son, 2410 Pte F Hill, was shot on the 15th by a German sniper whilst at work in the trenches. He died at once. I must express my sympathy with you and his family on their sad loss. The only consolation I can give is that he died as a soldier, fighting for his King and country. He was buried last night in the military cemetery behind the trenches. With renewed sympathy, believe me, yours very truly, JH Fowler, Lieut. Col., Sherwood Foresters [KIA 15 October 1915]’. A further letter was received from Lieut. Elliot, who says; ‘By the time you get this you will have already heard from another source the sad news of your son’s death. He was at work improving a communication trench on Tuesday morning when he was hit in the abdomen by a German sniper. We had only time to call for a stretcher-bearer before he became unconscious, and died very soon afterwards. He was detached from No. 10 Platoon at the time, and so I was nowhere near, but I heard very soon afterwards. I am writing on behalf of the platoon to express our deep sympathy with you in this your great loss. I had not been long enough with the platoon to know him well, but we shall miss him in the future. I have never heard or seen antyhing but good of him. I know that the blow must be a terrible one to you, but in these days we must nerve ourselves to bear whatever befalls us. Every man must die some time, but it must be a great consolation to you to know that your son died gloriously, fighting for what is perhaps the noblest cause for which ever anyone fought. I went to his funeral last night. He was buried in one grave with three others from the ‘C’ Company, in one corner of the cemetery reserved for troops [renamed Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery], close under the shade of a group of trees. It is in a pretty little village about a mile behind the firing line. I cannot tell you its name, but no doubt you will learn at the end of the war. His grave will be well attended to by the Pioneers. We sang the last verse of ‘Sun of my Soul’ at the end of the burial service. The firing could easily be heard at the same time. Once more expressing my deepest sympathy. I remain, yours sincerely, Lieut. GG Elliot.’ 'A memorial service was held in the St. Peter’s Sunday school on Sunday afternoon being conducted by the Rev. J Lowndes. For many years the deceased soldier was a member of the school, and often assisted Mr Goss, the superintendent, in the management of the schools.’ The report continued with a description of the service at St Peter’s. (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Mansfield Reporter, 25 June 1915: ‘8th Sherwood Foresters Ranks Thinned. Towards the end of last week Mansfield and district received bad news of her sons fighting in France … The first intelligence received tht the 8th Sherwood Foresters’ Battalion had been in the thick of the fighting, announced the death of Lieut. Humphrey Hollins, eldest son of Mr and Mrs Wm Hollins, Berry Hill … Then came the sad intelligence of other brave lads’ deaths: Corporal Wilson and Privates Frank Hill, Armitage, (of Carter Lane, and Spademan. On the same day Private Percy May was killed, but it was not until Monday of this week that his father was apprised of the fact … Memorial Service. A memorial service to Lieutenant Hollins was held in St Peter’s Church on Saturday afternoon … The service was conducted by the vicar (Rev FJ Adams), who also took a similar service held in the parish church on Sunday evening, to the memory of Lieut Hollins, Corporal Wilson and Privates Hill, Armitage, and Spademan … Five of their communicants had gone in a week – Humphrey Hollins, Charles Wilson, Frank Hill and from St Lawrence’s there were Privates Armitage and Spademan.' (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Mansfield Reporter, 9 July 1915 (extract): ‘The Late Private Hill of Mansfield. Valise Found On Battlefield. An instance of an army officer’s courtesy and interest in soldiers at the front other than those of his own particular regiment, is afforded by a letter received a few days ago by Mr and Mrs A Hill, of Redcliffe-road, Mansfield, whose son, Private Hill, was killed at the front three weeks ago, as reported in the ‘Reporter’. The letter is from an officer of the East Yorks. Regiment, the regiment that went into the trenches relieving the company of Sherwood Foresters to which the late Pte. Hill was attached. It appears that one of the East Yorks found a valise belonging to the late Private Hill, containing his diary and other articles, and these were considerately forwarded by the officer to the parents, who had previously sent him a copy of the ‘Advertiser’ containing Pte Hill’s photograph and the details concerning his death and the sadness it occasioned. The officer wrote to the family on 3 July.’ The officer (unnamed) closed his letter, ‘Immediately after leaving the trench [after receiving the letter from Hill’s parents] I went to the cemetery and saw his grave. It is well tended, and is situated in a corner of a beautiful old-world village not far from the firing line. (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Registers of Soldiers' Effects: his father Arthur was his legatee. His mother was named as his next of kin on the WW1 Pension Ledgers Index Card.
Remembered on

Photos

  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone marking his grave at Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery, Belgium. Photograph Murray Biddle
    Frank William Hill - Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone marking his grave at Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery, Belgium. Photograph Murray Biddle
  • Photograph published in the Mansfield Reporter, 25 June 1915 (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)
    Frank William Hill - Photograph published in the Mansfield Reporter, 25 June 1915 (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)