John Walter Hill
Lance Sergeant 23695 - Sherwood Foresters
Notts & Derby Regiment 2nd Battalion
Killed in Action: Somme 16th Sept 1916 : Aged 21
Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A
Lance Sergeant 23695 John Walter Hll was born Q2 1895 in Hucknall Huthwaite. This is where both parents originate relating to their 1892 Q3 Mansfield registered marriage between coal hewer Mr Ben William Hill and Miss Ann Margaret Lee. They started to raise a family sharing Ben's stepmothers 1901 census home on Blackwell Road, headed by widow Mrs Hannah Cooper 67.
John Walter was eldest son of 7 surviving children all newly housed at future 80 Blackwell Road family address. Heading that 1911 fuller household promoted to coal mining deputy working New Hucknall Colliery, is Mr Ben William Hill 43. Wife Mrs Ann Margaret Hill 36, mothers Susan Hannah 17, John Walter 16, Harry 13, Joseph 11, Margaret 7, Allan 6 and Ernest 1.
Private 23695 John W Hill enlisted at Mansfield joining the local Notts & Derby Regiment of Sherwood Foresters. He'd previously worked as a coal miner while also a keen regular member at All Saints Huthwaite Parish Church Bible Class. Ranked promotion to Lance Serjeant swiftly followed active service abroad with the 2nd Battalion. They were posted into the Western Front where September 1916 casualty numbers proved particularly horrendous.
L/Sgt 23695 John Walter Hill dutifully and very bravely led his attacking platoon into the heavily defended German front lines during the Battle of the Somme. He was killed in action aged 21 on Saturday 16th. That day alone claimed another 3,228 lives, most of whom were likewise mowed down by enemy machine guns as graphically depicted in the Captains letter received by parents confirming death and burial near Ginchy of their young son.
Younger sibling Ernest Hill no doubt played annual remembrance to his lost soldier brother, when his musical talents later reported role of Huthwaite Parish Church organist. All Saints parishioners payed tribute to all those lost in the Great War. A stained glass window listing dedication to all their Bible Class members includes John Walter Hill.
With respect to the recent death in action of Sergeant J.W. Hill of Huthwaite, the following letter has been received by his parents :-
Dear Mr. Hill,-in reply to your letter regarding your son, he was killed by machine gun fire as he was leading his platoon in the attack. He was shot through the body, and died and was buried near Ginchy. He was exceedingly popular with the Company and is a great loss, for besides being a good N.C.O. he was always so cheerful and when he met his death he was most bravely leading his platoon, there being no officer in command. I very much wish I had his help in the Company now, and I deeply sympathise with you in your loss.-Yours sincerely. L.W. Hancock (Captain)
J. W. Hill was given Roll of Honour on the Huthwaite Cemetery Cenotaph, and is still given proud living family remembrance by descendents through his brother Alan. Mr Alan Hill was born 1907, leading to 1928 marriage with Miss Winifred Ethel Smith of 51 Barker Street recognising Huthwaite grandparents of Richard Hammerton. Mr Hammerton incidentally adds his grandmothers father was not just Checkweighman at New Hucknall Colliery, but also fulfilled two other more important roles. That Nottingham County Councillor furthermore sat on trustworthy Bench at the Mansfield Magistrates' Court.
Numbering 80 Blackwell Road where grandfathers Hill siblings had all been raised, can coincidentally secondarily next address lifetime marital home purchased by my Elliott grandparents. Charles Elliott had been raised next door at 78, from where his youngest brother Joseph sadly became first Huthwaite casualty of a Second World War. Memory of WWI soldier John Walter Hill had been passed down through my father Roy.