Lance Corporal Joseph Richard Hill MM – 59466 — ACTIVE SERVICE (World War I)
Joseph Richard Hill* was 19 years, 7 months and 1 week old when, as a single man, he was Attested in Kingston, Ontario on November 6, 1914 into the 21st Battalion, Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force (CEF). Joseph Richard enlisted for the duration of the War as a Private (Pte) with the 21st Battalion (21 Bn) and was assigned Service Number 59466. Joseph Richard stated that he was born in Lakefield, Ontario on March 31, 1893. His Medical Examination on November 6, 1914 indicated that he was 5′ 4½ tall, had brown hair, blue eyes, chest 36 and weighed 148 pounds. He indicated that he had no previous military experience. His previous employment was listed as a lumberman. Joseph Richard lived in Lakefield Ontario and his next-of-kin was listed as his father, W. J. Hill, was also of Lakefield Ontario. Both of his parents, Wellington John and Rachael Ellen (Nellie) Hill, were living in Lakefield. Pte Joseph Richard Hill’s entry medical was done in Kingston Ontario, November 6, 1914; he was considered fit for duty. He was assigned to “G” Company, 21st Bn, which was later reorganized into “D” Company.
*Joseph Richard’s Birth Registration gave his name as Richard Joseph and his date-of-birth as March 31, 1895.
Although not stated in his Military Records; Pte Hill’s basic and some advanced training would have been conducted in the Kingston Ontario area over the 6 months before embarking for England.
On May 6, 1915 Private (Pte) Hill embarked the RMS Metagama at Montréal, Québec for the United Kingdom (UK). He disembarked at Devonport, England September 15, 1915 and proceeded to West Sandling Camp near Hythe Kent.
Again, although not stated in his Military Records; Pte Hill would have been engaged in advanced and warfare training being conducted in at West Sandling Camp the 4 months before embarking for France. On September 14, 1915 Pte Hill embarked the St. Seiriol at Folkestone and headed for France, he disembarked September 15, 1915 at Boulogue France and proceeded to St. Omer, France.
Although Pte Hill’s Military Records have no entries for the next 8 months he would have received some training in the Field and was deployed to the Front. On May 24, 1916 Pte Hill was admitted to No 4 Canadian Field Ambulance (No 4 CFA) with Myalgia in his back and transferred the same day to No 5 CFA. May 28, 1916 Pte Hill was transferred to No 2 Divisional Rest Station with Arthritis in his shoulder. (The Rest Station was for soldiers recuperating from wounds and illness. They most often receive physio-therapy there and got back into shape in order to return to the Front.) Pte Hill rejoined the 21st Battalion in the Field June 4, 1916. On July 21, 1916 Pte Hill was attached to a Woodcutting Party. August 28, 1916 he ceased to be attached to the Woodcutting Party and returned to the 21 Bn.
September 16, 1916 Pte Hill was at the Front at Courcellette, France. While storming the Sugar Refinery he was wounded by shrapnel, a couple pieces of a shell struck his back on the right side, in the lumbar region. Two small pieces of metal were removed in France. There was a small wound near his spine and a larger one (2″ x 1″) on his front, right side. The wounds were cleaned and healing. September 18, 1916 Pte Hill was admitted to No 2 Canadian General Hospital at Le Treport, France. Then, September 26, 1916 Pte Hill was invalided to England aboard the Hospital Ship Lanfranc and posted to the Canadian Casualty Assembly Centre (CCAC) at Folkestone, England while in the hospital. He was taken-on-strength with the CCAC at Folkestone September 27, 1916 and admitted to the Lord Derby War Hospital, which was situated on the Winwick Rectory Estate north of Warrington, Lancashire England, due to the back wound.
On October 21, 1916 Pte Hill transferred to the Military Covalescent Hospital at Wood Cote Park, Epsom. He was discharged from the hospital November 27, 1916 and posted to the No 3 Canadian Convalescent Depot (No 3 CCD) at Hastings for physical training and conditioning.
On December 9, 1916 the London Gazette #29854 contained the following article:
The Military Medal was awarded for Pte Hill’s actions during the fighting at Courcelette while storming the Sugar Refinery.
The Citation reads:
For marked gallantry and devotion to duty as a stretcher bearer. He acted as a stretcher bearer throughout the engagement moving wounded to places of safety during an intense enemy bombardment.
On January 1, 1917 Pte Hill was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the Field. March 10, 1917 he was struck-off-strength from the CCAC on transfer to the Eastern Ontario Regiment Depot (EORD) while in the St. Leonard’s Hospital and attached to the 3rd Canadian Command Depot (3rd CCD). March 11, 1917 Pte Hill was taken-on-strength to the EORD at Seaford from the CCAC. March 15, 1917 he struck-off-strength from the EORD on posting to the 6th Reserve Battalion (6th Res Bn) at Seaford, England. Pte Hill was taken-on-strength to the 6th Res Bn March 15, 1917. On April 21, 1917 he was struck-off-strength from the 6th Res Bn and posted to the 21st Bn. April 22, 1917 Pte Hill arrived at the Canadian Base Depot (CBD) at Le Havre, France and he was taken-on-strength to the 21st Bn. April 24, 1917 he rejoined the 21st Bn in the Field.
August 15, 1917 Pte Hill was admitted to No 4 CFA with a bullet wound (GSW) to his left arm which he received in the fighting at Hill70. [The Battle of Hill 70 was a localized battle of World War I between the Canadian Corps and five divisions of the German Sixth Army. The battle took place along the Western Front on the outskirts of Lens in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France between 15 August 1917 and 25 August 1917. The battle consisted of extensive use of poison gas by both sides, including the newly introduced German Yellow Cross shell containing the blistering agent sulfur mustard.] The same day he was transferred to No 23 Casualty Clearing Station (CCS). On August 16, 1917 Pte Hill was transferred to No 20 General Hospital. Then, August 19, 1917 Pte Hill was invalided to England aboard the Hospital Ship Princess Elizabeth.
August 20, 1917 Pte Hill was admitted to 2nd Western General Hospital at Manchester, England due to a gunshot wound (GSW) to his left arm on August 15, 1917.
The following article was published in the Peterborough Examiner, Peterborough Ontario
September 10, 1917:
September 27, 1917 Pte Hill was transferred from the EORD Canadian Convalescent Hospital at Woodcote Park, Epsom, England. On October 24, 1917 he was discharged from the hospital and taken-on-strength to the 6th Reserve Battalion at Seaford, England. March 21, 1918 Pte Hill was posted from the 6th Res Bn to the EORD at Seaford and attached to the 3rd Canadian Command Depot (3rd CCD). He was admitted to St. Leonard’s Hospital, on Nuttall Street London, for physical training and conditioning.
May 9, 1918 Pte Hill was taken-on-strength to the 6th Reserve Battalion at Seaford from the EORD. While at this posting he attended the 69th Musketry Course at Mytchett, Surrey England and qualified as a Lewis Gun Instructor. On October 17, 1918 Pte Hill was appointed to the rank of Acting Lance Corporal (A/L/Cpl) with pay and allowances. December 27, 1918 he was on command to Kimmel Park, Witley pending return to Canada. January 11, 1919 L/Cpl Hill embarked the RMS Olympic at Southampton, England bound for Canada.
January 17, 1919 A/Cpl Hill disembarked at Halifax, Nova Scotia and proceeded to Kingston Ontario. January 20, 1919 he taken-on-strength to the Casualty Company, Military District No 3, Kingston Ontario. On January 21 L/Cpl Hill was granted leave with subsistence allowance until February 3, 1919. A Medical Board conducted at Barriefield Camp, Kingston finds no disability and declares L/Cpl Hill as a category “A2”.
On February 11, 1919 Lance Corporal Hill MM was discharged from the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force (CEF) at Kingston Ontario. April 19, 1921 L/Cpl Hill’s British War Medal and Victory Medal were sent to him at Lakefield Ontario.
Lance Corporal Hill was awarded the following medals:
1914 – 15 Star;
British War Medal; and
He was also awarded the War Service Badge – CEF Class “A”.
Joseph Richard Hill served for about 4 years and 3 months; about 6 months in Canada, about 2 years and 5 months in the United Kingdom and about 1 year, 4 months in France. During his time in the Service he allotted $20.00 per month of his pay to his mother.
An excerpt from an article in McLean’s magazine by Barbara Amiel, September 1996:
The military is the single calling in the world with job specifications that include a commitment to die for your nation. What could be more honorable?
JOSEPH RICHARD HILL
Joseph Richard Hill was born to Wellington John Hill & Rachael Ellen Crowe March 31, 1895, Peterborough County, Dummer Township. An older brother, Sherman Roger also served in WW 1. Joseph Richard’s birth registration gives his name as “Richard Joseph” however his Military Records and newspaper references to him use “Joseph Richard” as did the compiler of this document.
The following is from the January 1955 issue of The Communique, the post War newsletter of the 21st Battalion Association is a notice that J. R. (Dick) Hill is the Sunnybrook Hospital, Toronto Ontario*.
Joseph Richard Hill died June 18, 1955 in St. Joseph’s Hospital, Peterborough Ontario after a brief illness. He is interred in the Lakefield Cemetery (Ray’s Cemetery), Lakefield Ontario.
The following is from the August 1955 issue of The Communique, the post War newsletter of the 21st Battalion Association is news about J. R. (Dick) Hill’s death*.
The following obituary was printed in the Peterborough Examiner, June 18, 1955:
* Courtesy of the 21st Battalion website http://www.21stbattalion.ca
THE JOSEPH RICHARD HILL FAMILY OF LAKEFIELD
Joseph Richard’s grandfather, Richard Hill, born about 1820 in England, died February 7, 1902 at 7 S. Bridge St., Lakefield. Richard married Elizabeth Langstaff, born about 1823, in England, died December 17, 1902 at 7 S. Bridge St., Lakefield. They married about 1842 in Canada, possibly in Dummer Township, Peterborough County, Ontario. Richard and Elizabeth had 10 children, 6 boys and 4 girls; Thomas Richard – born February 14, 1843, George Ulysses – born about 1852, Sarah – born about 1855, Samuel Alexander born about 1857, Jane T. – born about 1858, Annie – born about 1860, Roland – born about 1862, Wellington John – born April 15, 1864, Albert – born about 1868, and Ellen – born about 1874. Both Richard & Elizabeth are interred in Hillside Cemetery, Lakefield.
Joseph Richard’s father, Wellington John Hill, born April 15, 1864 in Dummer Township, Peterborough County married Rachel Ellen (Nellie) Crowe, born August 4, 1864, in Dummer Township, Peterborough County on October 1, 1886 in Lakefield Ontario. Wellington died March 12, 1942 in Lakefield Ontario, buried in Lakefield Cemetery. Nellie died June 25, 1940, in Lakefield Ontario, buried in Lakefield Cemetery.
Wellington John Hill and Rachel Ellen “Nellie” Crowe had 8 children, seven boys and one girl;
Roland Wellington was born on May 28, 1886 in Lakefield Ontario and he married Florence Lillian Sanderson on October 14, 1914 in Peterborough Ontario. Roland died March 7, 1961 in Lakefield Ontario and Florence died July 4, 1987 in St. Joseph’s Hospital, Peterborough Ontario, both are buried in Lakefield Cemetery.
Sherman Ernest was born on September 13, 1890 in Lakefield Ontario and he married Maude Margaret Udey* on August 14, 1915. Sherman died on December 24, 1926 and is buried in Lakefield Cemetery.
Francis Bruce “Frank” was born on September 11, 1893 and he married Lucinda Freeburn on November 8, 1916 in Young’s Point Ontario. She was born on June 25, 1897 in Smith Township.
Joseph Richard was born on March 31, 1895 in Lakefield Ontario and died June 18, 1955 in Peterborough Ontario, buried in Lakefield Cemetery.
Percivale “Percy” Claude, born June 6, 1897 in Lakefield Ontario and married Esther Ann Marsden who was born on December 2, 1902 in Alnwick Township, Ontario. He died July 14, 1971 in St. Joseph’s Hospital, Peterborough Ontario and is buried in Lakefield Cemetery.
Darcy Deyncourt was born on June 3, 1902 in Lakefield Ontario.
Eva Helen was born September 25, 1904 in Lakefield Ontario and married Melville Orville Kingdon about 1946. He was born November 28, 1906 in Peterborough Ontario. Eva died September 25, 1945 in St. Joseph’s Hospital, Peterborough Ontario and Melville died November 17, 1972 in Peterborough Ontario, both are buried in Lakefield Cemetery.
Harry Traverse was born November 6, 1906 in St. Joseph’s Hospital, Peterborough Ontario and married Eva Violeta Hendren in 1948 and she was born on December 9, 1913. Harry died May 5, 1975 in St. Joseph’s Hospital, Peterborough Ontario and Eva died October 30, 2008 in Extendicare Lakefield; both are buried in Lakefield Cemetery.
* Maude Margaret Udey married a “Connelly after Sherman Ernest Hill’s demise since Sherman Roger’s Military File indicates a “Shirley Patricia Connelly”, born about 1932, as a step-child.