Hilliard, George Frederick Herbert



Captain George Frederick Herbert Hilliard – ACTIVE SERVICE (World War I)

On July 23, 1915 George Frederick Herbert Hilliard completed the Attestation Paper for the Canadian Army, Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF). He was 27 years, and 4 months old when, as a single man, he enlisted for the duration of the War. George Frederick was born in Minnedosa, Manitoba, and gave his birth-date as March 13, 1888. On his Attestation Paper he indicated; ”he presently belonged to an Active Militia and that he had served in a Military Force – RMC”. There is nothing on his File to indicate where he was educated or to what level. As far as his Trade or Calling is concerned, he lists Civil Engineer. George Frederick was 6′ 3/4” tall, with a 39” chest (expanded); his weight is listed as 162 pounds. He had a fair complexion, with blue eyes, and fair hair. George Frederick’s Medical Examination was conducted at Valcartier Camp, Quebec on July 23, 1915. His Medical Records indicate that he had no medical issues and as such as deemed fit for Overseas duty with the CEF. His next-of-kin was listed as his wife, Mrs. George Hilliard, of Lakefield, Ontario. George Frederick Herbert Hilliard signed the Oath and Certificate of Attestation on July 23, 1915 at Valcartier, Québec. The Certificate of Magistrate was signed by Justice Olgivie, but is not dated. On July 23, 1915 George Frederick Hilliard was taken-on-strength with the 26th Battery (Batt), 7th Brigade (Bde), Canadian Field Artillery (CFA) as a Lieutenant (Lt).

According to his Military File, Lt Hilliard embarked from Canada on July 23, 1915, the same day that he enlisted. There is no indication of the ship that he sailed on, but it would have been from Québec City. There is nothing indicating where he disembarked in England but it would have been about August 3, 1915.

The next entry in his Military File indicates Lt Hilliard landing at La Havre, France on June 19, 1916. Research into the 26th Battery, 7th Brigade, CFA failed to indicate where the Unit was stationed in England, or what they were doing other than training. While in France, the 7th Bde was attached to the 2nd Canadian Division. The next entry in his File occurs March 19, 1917.

To track the movement of Lt Hilliard between June 19, 1916 and March 19, 1917 the War Diary of the 7th Brigade CFA was used. Initially, there were no signs of the entries for June and July 1916. Further research revealed that the entries for this period appeared in with the January 1916 entries.

From June 19, 1916 when Lt Hilliard joined the 26th Batt – 7th Bde, in the Field, to August 25th, they were in position in the area of Dickiebusch, Belgium. During this time they engaged in daily shelling and bombardments of the enemy Front-Line, support and communication trenches; as well as enemy troop movements and work parties. The individual’s guns were used as ”sniper guns” engaging hostile machine gun and trench mortar emplacements. They often worked in conjunction with observation aeroplanes to ”register” potential targets. The War Diary indicates that they were effective in damaging and destroying enemy positions. The enemy also shelled Brigade positions during this period. On August 26th, 1916 the 7th Brigade was relieved by the 24th Australian Artillery Brigade. The 7th Brigade formed up on the Reninghelst Abeele Road and marched off to billets at Zermezeele. After a nights rest, it moved off to billets at Bonnenques, Belgium, where they spent time working on horses and Horse Lines while carrying out training.

September 1916: The first few days of September 1916 were spent in training; which included; taking up positions in the open, and driving drills. On September 5th, the Brigade entrained at Aeques, detraining at Auxi Le Chateau, then marched to St. Ouen. Then on the 8th it marched to Septemville. On the 9th the Brigade relieved the British Lahore Divisional Artillery (10th Unit, 18th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery) at La Boisselle, on the 9th. The 10th to 21st was spent in the usual shelling of enemy positions. On the 22nd, the Brigade began to move forward to the area of Courcelette – Poziers. All Batteries fired ”registration” rounds and prepared for action. On the 24th the Brigade was dug in and fired trial barrages, with salvos at 3-minute intervals, in preparation for a general attack. The Brigade increased its activity on the 25th with the howitzers doing a great deal of firing. On the 26th, Brigade Batteries engaged in night firing. The general Infantry attack took place just past noon. The Brigade bombardment started 50 yards short of the German Front-Line Trench. Barrage lifts were well carried out and the attack was successful. A number of Brigade casualties were reported. During the afternoon of the 27th, all Batteries registered on and cut wire in front of Regina trench. The rest of the month was spent in the usual exchange of barrages.

October 1916 – The Brigade remained in the area of Courcelette – Poziers for the month. On the 1st, Brigade guns provided support when the 8th Cdn Inf Bn carried out an attack on Regina trench, although the supporting Brigade artillery barrage was carried out as planned, the Infantry were unable to capture the enemy position. From the 2nd to the 19th Brigade guns carried out the normal shelling and bombardment of enemy positions. On the 20th, the shelling was normal during the day. The enemy did very little. An attack on Regina trench was planned on the 21st by the 53rd Inf Brigade (British). Prior to the attack 7th Brigade Batteries bombarded Regina trench at a slow rate for two hours. At 2:06 PM, all Batteries concentrated and increased their rate of fire to two rounds per gun per minute. The barrage commenced 50 yards short of the trench and lifted 100 yards every minute. Closely following the barrage, the 53rd Infantry Brigade entered Regina trench without the slightest trouble, where they found the enemy either willing to surrender or dead. Following the attack, Officers of the 53rd would say that they had gone forward under many barrages, but the one of the 7th Brigade was the most perfect they had experienced. Brigade casualties were reported during the month.

November 1916. The Brigade was still in position in the area of Courcelette – Poziers. The month was pretty much a repeat of previous months, with the Brigade firing and bombarding various enemy positions and the enemy responding in kind. The Brigade did report a few casualties during the month. On the 25th, relief of the 7th Brigade commenced. Its guns were withdrawn and the Brigade embarked on a series of long day marches finally ending up in the area of the Village of Grenay, France.

December 1916: The weather for the month was reported as rainy with fog, which limited the visibility of observers. The Brigade spent the month registering and calibrating guns, shelling enemy positions and, work parties, as well as cutting wire. They also provided support to a number of raiding parties that went out against enemy trenches.

January 1917: From the hand writing a new person took over the entries into the the War Dairy. Although they are now reported in the area of Calonne, they had not moved and were still in the area of the Village of Grenay. Brigade activity increased during the early part of the month, with Brigade guns focused on cutting enemy wire, in front of hostile trenches. On the 10th, the Brigade guns provided support to an Infantry raid on an enemy position referred to as the Triangle, which was successful. Brigade guns picked up the pace of bombarding enemy positions and cutting wire in a lead up to a large raid by Infantry on the 17th, which was reported as successful. Relief of the Brigade, which was scheduled for the 21st, was delayed due to heavy snow. Relief was completed on the 24th. The Brigade withdrew and moved to the Training Area near Camblain – Chatelin. The days were filled with; cleaning harness, horses, and vehicles. The men engaged in foot drills and route marches. Their health was reported as excellent. The Brigade was inspected by a General H.A. Panet – Commander Royal Canadian Artillery, 2nd Cdn Division. On January 30th the Brigade marched to the area of Ames, France.

February 1917: Training in the early part of the month continued, as in the last few days of January. On February 16th, the Brigade marched to Camblain L’Abbe and took up positions. The setup was very poor, as there was no shelter for the horses and as a result of heavy rain, which continued for most of the month, the mud was knee deep. The ”Waggon Lines” were reported in terrible shape. The men were engaged, during the day, digging gun pits and hauling large amounts of ammunition to the guns. The Front was reported as very quiet, with the Brigade only firing its guns at night.

Entries in the 7th Brigade CFA War Diary ended February 28th, 1917.

On March 19, 1917 Lt Hilliard is shown as struck-off-strength from the 7th Brigade Canadian Field Artillery (CFA) and taken-on-strength with the 5th Brigade (CFA) on March 20th, 1917. Research indicates that it was at this point the 7th Brigade ceased to exist, as it was absorbed into the 5th Brigade. On March 27, 1917 Lt Hilliard proceeded on leave to England. He rejoined his Unit from leave on April 8, 1917.

April 1917: At this point, the 5th Brigade was in the area of La Targuette and was involved in laying down artillery support prior to the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Leading up to April 9th, the Brigade fired 45,320 rounds of 18 pounders, and 11,003 rounds of 4.5” howitzer. A further 18,000 rounds were fired on April 9th, in support of the assault; with 18,000 rounds kept in hand for enemy counter attacks. As the Infantry moved forward, Brigade guns also went forward, keeping up a continuous bombardment of the retreating enemy. As a result of the heavy mud, it was reported that many horses were dying as a result of exhaustion and exposure. The Brigade was now in the area of Telus. On the 15th, the Brigade was in position on the forward slope of Vimy Ridge. The Brigade continued to move forward. On the 27th, the Brigade 6” heavies concentrated on cutting wire on the Arlene Loop, in preparation for an Infantry assault on Arleux. On the 29th it started to move forward and took up positions east of the Lens – Arras Railway Line. All guns were in position on the 30th.

There is an entry in Lt Hilliard’s File indicating that he was to be an Acting Captain from May 3rd, 1917 to June 4, 1917 followed by the designation AC&R. Research indicates that AC&R stood for Appointments, Commissions and Rewards.

On July 10, 1917 Lt Hilliard was to be a ”Temporary Captain” (T/Capt). July 18, 1917 T/Capt Hilliard was attached to the 1st Army Rest Camp. There is no indication as to why this move took place. On August 1, 1917 he rejoined the 5th Bde from the Rest Camp. August 16, 1917 he was admitted to the 10th Field Ambulance with Impetigo on his face and hands. (Impetigo was a highly contiguous skin infection.)

On August 29, 1917 T/Capt Hilliard returned to duty with his Unit from the 10th Field Ambulance.

September 1917: The 5th Brigade is now shown in position in the area of Lievin, France. From the 1st to the 9th, the Brigade guns were only active during the night firing on enemy trenches and area roads. On the 10th, they were relieved and marched to the area of Aux Noulette, France. On the 17th, the Brigade moved to new Waggon Lines in the area of Fort George. The rest of the month was spent improving the Waggon Line, building “standings” for the horses, improving gun positions, and bringing ammunition forward.

October 1917: For the first 6 days of October, work continued as in September.

October 6, 1917 T/Capt Hilliard proceeded on Leave. He returned to his Unit from Leave on October 20, 1917.

The War Diary indicates that when T/Capt Hilliard arrived back at his Unit, they were in preparations to move from the 1st Cdn Army area to the 2nd Cdn Army area. On the 23rd, the Brigade formed up in the rain and marched on the Arras – Bethune Road; entering Belgium at Arberle on the 26th. It was reported that the men were not glad to be back in Belgium. On the 27th the Brigade, as part of the 2nd Cdn Divisional Artillery, relieved the 66th Divisional Artillery (British) in the area of Mill Cote Potijze, east of Ypres. On the 28th, the Brigade guns began firing barrages and harassing fire on enemy positions as part of the start of the 2nd phase of the 2nd Battle of Passchendaele. The firing continued through the 29th. At 5:50 AM, on the 30th, all guns opened up ”like the crack of doom”. Brigade guns firing in a rolling barrage; lifting 50 yards 4 minutes apart. It was reported the Infantry advance was going very well. On the 31st, the 3rd phase of the Canadian assault began. Enemy shelling very intense all day resulting in a number of Brigade casualties.

November 1917: The month opened with preparations underway for another attack on Passchendaele Ridge by the Cdn Corps on the 5th. Artillery ammunition was being brought forward and stockpiled at gun positions. Deep mud required the Infantry to use the roads to move forward, which were dialed in by enemy artillery resulting in very heavy casualties. Brigade guns fired intermittently throughout the day. The Brigade guns repeated this pattern on the 2nd. At 4:00 PM, they joined in a Corps artillery barrage. As a result of enemy artillery barrages, it was reported that the Brigade was losing 3 guns per day, with associated casualties. They were able to replace the loses with guns salvaged from those left behind by the 66th Div Artillery. The whole Front was placed on ”stand to”, based on anticipation of a heavy enemy attack, which didn’t occur. Arrived at 5:00 AM, on the 4th, the enemy put down a very heavy barrage on the Front-Line and attempted a counterattack. Brigade, as well as other Corps guns responded, and in most cases the attack was broken up. At 4:45 PM, all Batteries joined in a Corps barrage. At 5:40 AM, a Corps barrage was fired on enemy positions. A great push was placed on bringing ammunition to the gun positions for tomorrows show 34 of the 36 Brigade guns were available, which was the largest number in action, at once, since coming to the Front. At 6:00 AM, on the 6th, a mass barrage opened up for the final taking of Passchendaele Ridge. Every available gun was kept continuously in action supporting the Infantry assault; which allowed the Infantry to sweep all before them under what they termed as perfect support. After four and one half hours the situation began to settle, with the famous Passchendaele Ridge, finally in Canadian hands. On the 7th, a Corps barrage was fired at 5:30 AM, which was the final barrage for the Passchendaele Show. Brigade guns fired through the night. This pattern was repeated on the 8th and 9th. Another push was made by Canadian Infantry on the 10th, which was supported by Brigade guns, with all objectives taken. As usual Brigade guns fired through the night. Another Corps barrage at 5:30 AM on the 11th. The enemy had brought forward a number of artillery pieces and laid on a heavy barrage of the Passchendaele area. Corps guns retaliated heavily. There was no morning barrage on the 12th. Batteries hauling ammunition to the Front. Telephone wires down making communication difficult. A Corps barrage was fired at 5:15 AM. There was another heavy enemy barrage of the Front. Brigade guns responded. There was no morning barrage. The Front was reported as relatively quiet, but the back area was shelled heavily. Brigade guns responded. Entries in the War Diary for the 15th to the 21st are too faint to read. There was no morning barrage. On the 22nd, preparations started for the 5th Brigade CFA to be relieved. On the 23rd relief was completed by noon. All Batteries cleaning up for march out. The Brigade is shown en-route on the 24th, with the destination unreadable.

T/Capt Hilliard proceeded on Special Leave on November 25, 1917, returning to Unit from Leave on December 5, 1917.

December 1917: When T/Capt Hilliard rejoined his Unit, they were located on the area of Thelus Cave. Things were quiet on the Divisional Front, but some enemy gas shells were fired into the area of the 17th Battery, which resulted in men being treated. It is noted in the War Diary, that 600 pounds of turkey had been ordered for Christmas meals. There was very limited artillery activity, on both sides, on the 6th and 7th. There was a marked increase in enemy shelling, gas and high explosives, in the Brigade area on the 8th. Brigade guns retaliated strongly and shelling stopped. At 1:40 AM, on the 9th, the enemy placed a heavy barrage on Front-Line trenches. For the rest of the day, artillery on both sides was inactive. Other than a few registration and calibration rounds the 10th to 14th was quiet. From the 15th to 19th, Brigade 18 pounders and howitzers shelled enemy trenches and mortar positions. On the 20th, the Brigade was relieved by the 170th Brigade RFA (British). The 21st and 22nd, were spent on the Waggon Lines in the area of La Targette, cleaning horses and harness and preparing for another move, which would take the Brigade to the area of Ames. The 24th to 31st, was spent at Ames. The Brigade engaged in Church Services, Christmas celebrations and dinner, and training.
January 1918: the early days of the month were spent training, which included: physical conditioning, use of rifles and machine guns and gas attacks. Other activities, included: Divine Services, inspections, bath parades, and concerts. On the 14th, the Brigade received word that on the 19th the 2nd Canadian Divisional Artillery (CDA) would relieve the 4th CDA in the area of Merricourt and Avion Sectors. Heavy rain, melting snow resulted in flooding which impaired preparations for the move. On January 17, 1918 T/Capt Hilliard was treated at No 5 Canadian Field Ambulance and the No 58 Casualty Clearing Station with what was described as an abrasion and bruised chin and upper lip as a result of ”an accident”. He was found not to blame for the ”accident”. On January 19, 1918 he was admitted to the No 8 Royal Canadian Hospital.

On February 13, 1918 T/Capt Hilliard was taken-on-strength to the 3rd Brigade on being transferred from No 5 Brigade CFA (in Hospital). There is an entry dated February 16, 1918 which makes reference to No 8 Red Cross Hospital and to duty that is unreadable. February 18, 1918 he is shown arrived at the Canadian Convalescent Base Depot. On February 20, 1918 he left for the Canadian Corps Replacement Camp (CCRC). February 21, 1918 he joined the 3rd Brigade from the Hospital.

March 16, 1918 T/Capt Hilliard proceeded to England to attend a Battery Commander’s Course. On the same day he was taken-on-strength ”On Command” to the Battery Commander’s Course at Witley, England. April 3, 1918 he was struck-off-strength upon rejoining his Unit, the 3rd Brigade, in the Field from the Battery Commander’s Course. There is another entry for the same date indicating that; ”Ceases to be detached to the Canadian Artillery Reinforcement Depot (CARD), Witley on rejoining his Unit from the Battery Commanders Course, England”.

July 1918: On July 12, 1918 Captain Hilliard was granted a 14 day leave of absence to England. He rejoined his Unit from leave on July 27, 1918. When Captain Hilliard joined the 3rd Brigade, they were in the area of Roclincourt. They were engaged in laying on a heavy and continuing harassing barrage on enemy positions to foster belief, by the enemy that an Infantry assault was pending. On the 28th, all guns fired a concentrated barrage on Fresnoy trench and dugouts north of Oppy. Due to poor visibility no sniping was carried out. Visibility remained poor through the 29th and 30th. Two Batteries took up new positions on the 29th. Enemy activity was comparatively quiet. The usual night time harassing fire was carried out by the Brigade.

August 1918: on the 1st, the Brigade was relieved, during the night, by the 277th Brigade of the Australian Field Artillery. The Orders were kept absolutely secret, as the Brigade moved to the Berles – Vandelicourt area. Now began a series of long night marches which took the Brigade through; Orville, Foret de Vignacourt, to their final destination in Boves Woods on the 5th. The Brigade spent the 5th and 6th moving the guns into battle positions and camouflaging them with chicken wire threaded with wheat to match the fields they were in. This operation was carried out with such secrecy that the enemy was unaware of what was in store for them. The usual light harassing fire was carried out to maintain the appearance of the normal quiet Front. The 7th was very quiet, with no activity during daylight hours. On the 8th, at 4:30 AM, the barrage began and the Infantry assault with tanks was on. This was the beginning of the Battle of Ameins and the start of the 100 Day Offensive. Due to the lack of response from the enemy artillery, they were obviously caught completely by surprise. By 6:00 AM hundreds of German prisoners were streaming to the rear. At 8:30 AM, as a result of the swift progress of the Infantry, all Brigade guns ceased to fire. At 10:30 AM Brigade guns started to move forward in support of the advancing Infantry. At 8:00 PM, Brigade guns, once again moved forward to the area of Beaucourt en Santerre. At 4:30 AM, on the 9th, the guns of the Brigade fired a barrage in support of the 11th Cdn Inf Brigade as it attacked enemy positions in the area of Le Quensel, which were successful. The guns were quiet the rest of the day. The night of the 9th/10th the Brigade was ordered to support an assault by the 10th Cdn Inf Brigade at 8:00 AM on Fouquescourt. The Brigade moved into position near Warvillers. The guns were to lay down a rolling barrage in front of the tanks, lifting 200 yards every 5 minutes. At 2:00 PM, the Batteries ceased firing, and moved forward to new positions in the area of Rouvroy. The Brigade laid on a protective barrage throughout the night. There were a number of casualties during this period. On the 11th, the Brigade continued to fire protective barrages in front of Cdn Infantry positions. During the night, it carried out extensive harassment fire on enemy positions. During the next several days, the Brigade engaged in supporting barrages of Infantry assaults, harassing fire, and sniping on enemy positions. On the 25th, the Brigade was relieved and over the next six days, to the end of the month, engaged in daily marches which took them through Cayeuz-en-Santerre, Toutencourt, Lattre St. Quentin, Agny, Neuville Vitasse, ending up at Vis-en-Artois.

On September 2, 1918 Captain Hilliard is shown as having been wounded. On the same day, he was treated at a Casualty Clearing Station.

The War Diary indicates that the Brigade was in the area of Vis-en-Artois.

On September 3, 1918 he was admitted to the No 20 General Hospital with a gunshot wound in the back. On September 4, 1918 he was invalided and detached to the Canadian Artillery Reinforcement Depot (CARD) Witley, England aboard the SS ‘Princess Elizabeth, an Ambulance Transport Ship. On the same day, he was taken-on-strength to CARD, Witley on evacuation. A Medical Report indicates: ”Small wound, shrapnel. Small foreign object retained. Wound excised and sutured. Evacuated to Prince of Wales Hospital, England”.
HilliardGe3Captain Hilliard was granted a Leave to October 25, 1918. The length of the Leave or start date is not indicated. On October 26, 1918 he is shown as struck-off-strength to ”Composite Brigade, Commander Royal Artillery (Comp Bde CRA); fit for General Service”. He is also shown as ”taken-on-strength” from CARD.

On December 16, 1918 Captain Hilliard was struck-off-strength from Comp Bde CRA on proceeding overseas to the Canadian Field Artillery. He was stationed at Bordon, England at this time. On December 17, 1918 he ceased to be detached to CARD, on returning to France and is attached to the Canadian Artillery Pool (CAP). On the same day he was taken-on-strength with the CAP from England and he proceeded to report to the Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp (CCRC) at Boulogne, France. December 21, 1918 he was struck-off-strength from the CAP on being posted to the 3rd Brigade Canadian Field Artillery.

December 1918 – When Captain Hilliard rejoined the 3rd Brigade, they were in billets in the area of Thorembais – St. Trond, which were described as the absolutely worst billets the Brigade had been in. In spite of a strong protest being raised with regards to the filthy and unsanitary conditions, the Brigade remained.
Janaury 1919 – On Janaury 3rd, the Brigade marched from Thorembais to new billets in the area of Limal, Belgium. The month was spent carrying out the ”Regimental daily routine” and the Brigade educational scheme which consisted of; reading and writing, agriculture, mathematics, bookkeeping and French. History and english were substituted for bookkeeping and French. The educational scheme was received with great enthusiasm by the other ranks and classes were well attended. On the 17th, the Brigade Commander inspected the Brigade and found moral and discipline of the highest standing. On the 28th, the Medical Officer carried out a medical examination of all ranks.

February 1919 – The month was pretty much a repeat of January. Preparations were underway for the demobilization of the Brigade. There is also a mention that ”general routine and stable management duties were carried out”.

Captain Hilliard embarked from Le Havre, France on February 18, 1919.

Captain Hilliard was struck-off-strength from the 3rd Brigade CFA – CEF Overseas on May 20, 1919 on proceeding to Canada. On the same day he is shown taken-on-strength CEF Canada. On May 28, 1919 Captain George Frederick Herbert Hilliard was struck-off-strength from the CEF in Canada on General Demobilization.

Based on his Military File, Captain George Frederick Herbert Hilliard served a total of 3 years, 10 months and 3 days with the Canadian Expeditionary Force: 8 days in Canada, 1 year, 6 months and 4 days in the UK, and 2 years 3 months and 21 days in France.

Captain George Frederick Herbert Hilliard’s Military File makes no reference to what Military Medals, he was entitled to or that were awarded.

Based on his Military Service, he should have received the:

British War Medal 1914 – 1920; and
Victory Medal.
He also qualified for War Service Badge CEF Class “A”.

An excerpt from an article in Maclean’s by Barbara Ameil, 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.


George Frederick Herbert Hilliard was born in Clanwilliam, Manitoba on March 13, 1888, the son of George Boyce Hilliard and Amy Herbert Barlee. The family resided in Minnedosa, Manitoba until 1890 when they moved to Lakefield, Ontario. George attended Lakefield College School and then on to the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario. He became a Civil Engineer and in 1915 he enlisted to serve his country in World War I.

Upon his return from the War, George married Dorothy Esther Edwards, born in Fort Steel, British Columbia (B.C.) on November 14, 1898, daughter of Charles Mashiter Edwards and Florene Bannister. By 1923 they had settled in Lethbridge, Alberta. They had two children; Mary Patricia and George Anthony and later moved to Monarch, Alberta where George worked as a civil engineer until his retirement in 1946. In 1946 George and Dorothy moved to Kelowna, B.C. to be closer to their daughter Mary Patricia and her husband James Arthur Flynn.

George Frederick Herbert Hilliard died in Kelowna, B.C. on March 27, 1951 and Dorothy Esther Edwards died July 30, 1993 in Mission, British Columbia.


George Frederick Herbert Hilliard’s paternal grandparents were Frances Coombe and George Towers Hilliard. His maternal grandparents were Frederick Barlee and Emma Susanna Strickland.

George Frederick Herbert Hilliard’s parents were George Boyce Hilliard, born October 26, 1856 in Penang, Straits of Malacca, India and Amy Herbert Barlee born September 21, 1863 were married on February 2, 1886 in Lakefield, Ontario. George Boyce was residing in Minnedosa, Manitoba; he and Amy and the family were living there until 1895 when they moved to Lakefield, Ontario and resided on Strickland Street. During this time George Boyce Hilliard was Secretary-Treasurer of the Grove School until his retirement in 1920. They had three children George Frederick Herbert, Dorothy Grace and Geoffrey Crosier Hilliard. In 1920 George and Amy decided to move to Victoria, British Columbia to be near their daughter.

Amy passed away March 15, 1938 in Colwood, B.C. then George Boyce moved in with his daughter Grace Forrester in Victoria, B.C. and resided with her until his death died May 21, 1943; both are buried in Hatley Memorial Gardens, Victoria, B.C.