Sergeant Sherman Ernest Hill MM with Bar – 195631 — ACTIVE SERVICE (World War I)
Sherman Ernest Hill was 24 years, 4 months and 20 days old when, as a married man, he was Attested in Peterborough, Ontario on February 3, 1916 with the 93rd Battalion, Canadian Over‑Seas Expeditionary Force (CEF). Sherman Ernest enlisted for the duration of the War. He stated that he was born in Lakefield, Ontario on September 13, 1892*; that he was 5′ 5″ tall, had black hair, brown eyes, chest 37″ and weighed 145 pounds. Sherman Ernest indicated that he had no previous military experience. His previous employment was listed as a labourer. Sherman Ernest lived in Lakefield Ontario and his next-of-kin was listed as his wife, Maude M. Hill, also of Lakefield Ontario. He was insured with the Prudential Life Insurance Co. for $200.00. Sherman Ernest had a 3-month old son, Sherman Roger Hill and both of his parents, Wellington J. and Ellen Hill, were living in Lakefield. His entry medical was done in Peterborough Ontario, February 2, 1916; he was considered fit for duty. Sherman Ernest Hill was assigned the rank of Private (Pte) with the 93rd Battalion (93 Bn) and Service Number 195631. Although not stated in his Military Records; Pte Hill’s basic and some advanced training would have been conducted in the Peterborough Ontario area, headquartered at the Armouries. *His actual date-of-birth is September 13, 1890, he would have been 26 years, 4 months and 20 days old when he enlisted.
On May 9, 1916 Pte Hill was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal (L/Cpl) then May 15, 1916 he was on-command at London, Ontario. L/Cpl Hill would have been sent to London Ontario and attached there for about three weeks to attend a course. It could have been a Junior Non-commissioned Officer (NCO) Course since he was promoted shortly after returning. On July 5, 1916 L/Cpl Hill was promoted to the rank of Corporal (Cpl). A week later, on July 15, 1916, Cpl Hill embarked the SS Empress of Britain at Halifax, Nova Scotia for the United Kingdom (UK).
July 25, 1916 Cpl Hill disembarked at Liverpool, England and was appointed as an Acting Corporal (A/Cpl). [Note: Most non-commissioned promotions in Canada were provisional and required confirmation on arrival in England and joining the British Expeditionary Force (BEF)]. On October 5, 1916 A/Cpl Hill was transferred from the 93 Bn and taken on strength October 6, 1916 to the 97th Battalion (97 Bn) at Otterpoole, near Shorncliffe. October 31, 1916 he was struck off strength from the 97 Bn and taken on strength to the 188th Battalion (188 Bn) at West Sandling Camp, near Hythe, Kent. On December 8, 1916 A/Cpl Hill was struck off strength from the 188 Bn and taken on strength with the 39th Reserve Battalion (39 RBn) at West Sandling Camp, near Hythe England.
On January 4, 1917 A/Cpl Hill was transferred from the 39 Bn and taken on strength with the 6th Reserve Battalion (6 RBn) at West Sandling Camp. Then on March 16, 1917 he voluntarily reverted to the Permanent Grade of Private in order to be sent to France. April 21, 1917 Pte Hill was drafted from the 6 RBn to the 21st Battalion (21 Bn) Canadian Infantry at Seaford, England. He arrived at the Canadian Base Depot (CBD) at Le Harve, France and was taken on strength with the 21 Bn on April 22, 1917. On April 24, 1917 Pte Hill left the CBD to join the 21 Bn in the field. On May 21, 1917 he joined the 21 Bn in the field. The Battalion was in the support trenches near Thelus France, near Vimy Ridge. There is no explanation in the file as to why there was a time delay for his joining the Battalion. It is most likely that he spent the time at the 2nd Entrenching Battalion which often was used to condition the replacements prior to actually joining their Unit.
November 4, 1917 Pte Hill was appointed to the rank of Acting Lance Corporal (A/L/Cpl) with pay. Then, on November 14, 1917 he was appointed to the rank of Lance Corporal (L/Cpl). On January 23, 1918 L/Cpl Hill was granted 14 days leave; he rejoined the 21 Bn from leave February 9, 1918. His file doesn’t indicate what actions he was involved in over the next 6 months, however, on August 26, 1918 he was promoted to the rank of Corporal. August 29, 1918 Corporal Hill was awarded a Military Medal as per the following published article by *The London Gazette:
On October 20, 1918 Cpl Hill was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and on December 31, 1918 Sgt Hill was granted 14 days leave. He rejoined the 21 Bn from leave January 21, 1919. Then, February 11, 1919 Sgt Hill was awarded a Bar to his Military Medal as per the following published article by *The London Gazette:
March 9, 1919 Cpl Hill was detached and assigned to guard duty at Namur, Belgium. On April 3, 1919 Sgt Hill embarked the troopship Western Australia at Le Havre for England.
On April 4, 1919 Sgt Hill disembarked in England and proceeded to Witley Camp where he was taken on strength at the Canadian Concentration Camp (CCC) “P” Wing from the 21 Bn for document processing pending return to Canada. May 13, 1919 Sgt Hill was struck off strength from CCC “P” Wing and transferred to Canada. On May 15, 1919 Sgt Hill embarked the SS Caronia at Liverpool, England for Halifax, Nova Scotia. He disembarked at Halifax on May 22, 1919 and proceeded via train to Kingston, Ontario.
On May 24, 1919 Sergeant Sherman Ernest Hill MM with Bar was discharged from the CEF at Kingston, Ontario upon demobilization.
Sergeant Hill was awarded the following medals:
Military Medal with Bar;
British War Medal; and
He was also awarded the War Service Badge – CEF Class “A”.
Sherman Ernest Hill served for 3 years, 3 months and 3 weeks; about 5 months and 2 weeks in Canada, 10 months and 1 week in the United Kingdom and 1 year, 11 months and 2 weeks in France. During his time in the Service he allotted $20.00 per month of his pay to his wife. He also indicated that he intended to live in Lakefield Ontario after his discharge.
Sherman Ernest Hill died December 24, 1926 while working at the Trent Canal. Lock 23. He is interred with his wife Maude in the Lakefield Cemetery, Lakefield Ontario.
* Courtesy of the 21st Battalion website http://www.21stbattalion.ca
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?
SHERMAN ERNEST HILL
Sherman Ernest Hill was born September 13, 1890 in Lakefield Ontario, the second son of Wellington John Hill, born April 15, 1864 in Dummer Township, Peterborough County and Rachel Ellen (Nellie) Crowe, born August 4, 1864, in Dummer Township, Peterborough County. Sherman Ernest took an active part in sports and was a popular prominent hockey player.
Sherman Ernest married Maude Margaret Udey*, daughter of William Udey and Laura Billings, on August 14, 1915; Maude was born in Neligh Nebraska – USA about 1891 and they made their home in Lakefield. Sherman Ernest enlisted to serve his Country and after the War he returned home. He worked as Lockmaster at Lock #23 on the Trent-Severn Canal. Sherman Ernest and Maude lived in Lakefield and had a family of five children: Sherman Roger, born April 3, 1916; Phyllis Denise, born October 5, 1920; Gordon Arthur “Jiggs”, born May 12, 1922; Jeanne, born March 2, 1924 and Helen H., born February 13, 1927.
Sadly, on Christmas Eve day, December 24, 1926, Sherman Ernest went to the Locks to cut ice from the dam. It is supposed that while chopping ice he slipped and fell into the river and drowned. A full Military funeral was held December 30, 1926 and he is buried in the 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.
THE SHERMAN ERNEST HILL FAMILY OF LAKEFIELD
Sherman Ernest’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.
Sherman Ernest’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.
Copied from a clipping from the Peterborough Examiner; Monday, December 27, 1926:
Sherman Hill Missing; Friends Fear Body Claimed by Otonabee
Lockmaster Last Heard of Chopping Ice at Lock 23’s Old Dam on Friday — Big Parties Are Unsuccessful in a Two Day Search.
WIDOW AND FOUR CHILDREN MOURN PASSING OF WAR VETERAN
Sherman Hill, lockmaster at lock 23, a short distance above Nassau, has not been seen since Friday and it is feared that he fell through the ice and was drowned. Mr. Hill was last seen about 3;00 o’clock on Friday afternoon. He had gone down a ladder to cut ice away from a stop log at the old dam. His wife was in Lakefield doing some shopping and when she returned found a note saying that he was working on the dam. When he did not come back at dark, she instituted a search and his tools were found.
Searchers from Lakefield and Peterborough, headed by Provincial Constable Norman F. Maker, conducted a search on Christmas Day and on Sunday, and resumed their search today (Monday, December 27, 1926). The opinion was expressed by Constable Maker that the missing man had probably been swept down and over the new dam that is being built below the new (old) one.
William Jobe, overseer for this division of the canal, assisted in the search with a large number of employees of the canal others boatmen.
Sherman Hill was a war veteran, having gone overseas with the 93rd (Peterborough County) Battalion. He had worked at the lock since shortly after his return from the front. He was married and is survived by his wife and four small children. He was well known in Lakefield, being one of a family of eight boys who had always taken an active part in all phases of village life, and his passing has cast a gloom over the entire community.
Lakefield war veterans provided a large proportion of the search party for the old one.
Copied from a clipping from the Peterborough Examiner; Tuesday, December 28, 1926:
SHERMAN HILL FOUND IN RIVER
Body of Missing Lockmaster Discovered This Morning.
NEAR DAM 23
The body of Sherman Hill, who was last seen on Friday afternoon, before he went to chop ice away from a stop 1og at Lock.23, was found this morning by friends engaged in the search.
The body was discovered about 300 yards from the old dam, at Lock 23, near where the drowning occurred. It is expected that an inquest will be held on Thursday evening.
The Examiner, Peterborough, Wednesday, December 29, 1926
The funeral of the late Sherman
Hill will take place from his late
residence, Lakefield, on Thursday
afternoon at 1:30, under military
auspices, to St. John’s Church.
Copied from a clipping from The Examiner, Peterborough; Wednesday, January 5, 1927:
CITIZENS MOURN SHERMAN E. HILL
Soldiers and Civilians Attend Funeral of Hero of Great War.
LAKEFIELD, Jan. 5 (1927) — The funeral of Sherman Ernest Hill was held on Thursday afternoon from the family residence, Clementi street, where a brief service was held and then proceeding to St. John’s church, and was attended by hundreds of people from The village and countryside, including a large numbers of returned men, and also a good representation of fellow employees of the Trent Canal Service. The church was packed to capacity and nearly as many more were unable to get in but remained on the street. The procession was led into the church by St. John’s vested choir followed by the casket covered with the Union Jack surmounted by his cap bearing the regimental badge of the 21st Battalion to which the deceased was attached in France, and a wreath of maple leaves and poppies from the 93rd Battalion with which he joined up in 1915*. Following the casket were the pall-bearers, three from the 93rd and three from the 21st Battalion. They were Comrades David Tucker, Reginald Murduff, J. Roy Robinson, Walter Chappell, John J. McFadden, and Earl Qrr. The family, the firing party and a large number of men of the Canadian Legion, each wearing a scarlet poppy in remembrance, fo1lowed and the simple, impressive burial service of the Church of England was read by Rev. A. W. MacKenzie who also said a few words of comfort to the friends. The speaker had known the deceased for many years as a fine type of’ Canadian manhood who gave his life in the service of his country as surely as he risked it many times in France or Flanders. “God is our great Judge” and He knows our hearts, and it is He who must make the judgement of our lives and works knowing all our feelings and our motives and it is well that it is so. As we live and do our duty in this world we judged. God wants us to make the world better for our having been in it, and it will be well for us if God finds us doing faithfully as did Sherman Hill” he said.
The hymn “Oh God Our Help In Ages Past” was sung and also the Nunc Dimittis; as the procession slow1y passed down the aisle.
The procession re formed for the march to the Lakefield cemetery. The Citizen’s Band, which led the procession from the house, led it also to the cemetery and their music added to the impressive character of the cortege which included besides the firing party a long procession of ex service men, including Col T. J. Johnston of the 93rd Battalion, and Sidney Whatley, secretary of the Canadian Legion in Peterboro, and scores of citizens in motor cars and cutters. The streets were lined, with pedestrians who watched reverently the long procession pass down Queen street where the blinds on every store were lowered to pay a token of respect to the man who had lived here as man and boy as his father had before him.
The service at the cemetery was short and impressive, the Last Post was sounded Bugler Thirnbeck of Peterboro, and the poppies were cast into the grave as an emblem of remembrance to the dead man.
Among those in the firing party were Sergeant Stenner, Comrades E. Robertshaw, Alfred Hudson, A. Barker, Wilbert Webster, S. Grylls, Laurence Charlton, E. Tighe, W. Robinson, Elmer Johnston and W. Doherty.
The funeral was in charge of the Lakefield branch of the Canadian Legion and was excellently managed throughout. Decorations were worn by the men.
Sherman Ernest Hill was born in Lakefield 36 years and 8 months ago, the second son of Mr. and Mrs. Wellington Hill, and lived in and about the village all his life with the exception of about four years when he was absent in his Country’s service in war time. More than ten years ago he married Miss Maude Udy of Lakefield, who, with four children; Sherman, Denise, Gordon, and: Jean survive him. His parents also survive and six brothers, Roland of Port Hope and Frank, Percy, D’Arcy, and; Harry, all of Lakefield, and one sister, Miss Eva Helen Hill of the staff of the Lakefield Public School.
Sherman Hill also took an active part in athletics and was prominent and popular in hockey circles as were all the Hill brothers. He enlisted in C Company of the 93rd Battalion in the winter of 1915 16, and was an excellent soldier, a favorite with officers and men. When the Battalion was broken up in England, he was attached to the 21st Battalion of which Battalion his brother Joseph was one of the original members. Sherman and Joe were awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous bravery in the field (a distinction rarely won by two members of the same family) and it is understood that Sherman was recommended for the VC. After his return to Canada he received the appointment of lockmaster at Lock 23 on the Trent Canal, a position which he held till his death and where he gave his life in pursuit of his duty as the supreme sacrifice of service.
The floral offerings in memory of this brave soldier and faithful civil servant were many and beautiful and were contributed both by military and civilian friends, with affectionate regard for a splendid Canadian, whose devotion to duty should be an ever continuing lesson to al1 those whose human endeavor is still incomplete.
*Actual date is February 3, 1916.