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James Henry Hill (1896-1974)

Citation

“James Henry Hill (1896-1974),” Wyndham History, accessed October 30, 2020, http://www.wyndhamhistory.net.au/items/show/1753.
View Record Detail
Title

James Henry Hill (1896-1974)

Subject

Hill. James Henry

Publisher

Wyndham City Libraries

Date

1917

Contributor

Bill Strong

Format

text

Language

eng

Type

Text

Biographical Text

No.3155  James Henry Hill
James Henry Hill was born in 1896 to Henry Hill and Barbara Jessie Inglis at Corunnun, near Colac in Victoria.  His siblings were:

  • Walter Joseph Hill - born 1897 at Cororooke, 
  • Ctina Ann Hill - born 1901 at Cororooke and, 
  • Collin Thomas Hill - born 1905 at Cororooke.
At the age of 17 years he passed the initial course for entry to the Ministry, and moved to the Geelong College to continue his studies. This was reported in the Colac Reformer, 14 February 1914, p.3.

War Service
On his first attempt to enlist in the A.I.F., James was rejected because he suffered with synovitis (inflammation of the joint membranes).  When he applied for enlistment he stated that he had the following military training:
  1. Registered in Training Area No. 72C on 30 January 1911 (aged 15)
  2. Attended Geelong College from 19 February 1914 (aged 18)
  3. Served with the M.U.R. in 1915–1916
  4. Served with the 20th Light Horse at Corangamite
James Hill enlisted in the A.I.F. at Colac on 13 December 1917, and was sent to No 7 Training Squadron with the Australian Flying Corps at the Laverton Base for training.  His enlistment was reported in twice in the local press. 
Colac Reformer, 20 December 1917, p.2. 
Colac Reformer, 5 January 1918, p.2 

After completing his initial training he was appointed as a 2nd Class Air Mechanic on 22 January 1918, with the Australian Flying Corps at Laverton. He completed his attestation into the A.I.F. there on 30 January 1918.  
[It is presumed that it was during this period of time that he created links with people in the West Footscray area, who nominated him for inclusion on the Werribee Shire Honor Board.]

James was granted final home leave between 8 and 13 February 1918, and he then returned to the Laverton Base.  On 25 February he was promoted to Acting Lance Corporal, and on 1 March 1918 he was made an Acting Sergeant.

Several days later he embarked at Melbourne on the SS Ormonde and sailed to Suez, and eventually England, with the Flying Corps Reinforcements and Special Drafts.
Once on board ship he was appointed a V.O. Sergeant. [This was a form of temporary rank and only applied to reinforcements on the voyage to England. V.O. was Voyage Only].

The SS Ormonde sailed on 7 March 1918, and the reinforcements disembarked at Suez on 4 April 1918 where they were taken on strength with the Australian Camp.  After three weeks they were transferred to Port Tewfik where they embarked per T.15 on 30 April 1918, to continue their voyage to England.

The T.15 disembarked at Southampton on 15 May 1918, and from there V.O. Sergeant James Hill marched in to the Australian Flying Corp Training Depot at Wendover in Buckinghamshire.  On arrival he reverted in rank to a 2nd Class Air Mechanic.  Two days later, on 17 May 1918 he was remustered as a 2nd Class Clerk.

One month after arriving in England, 2nd Class Clerk Hill was taken on strength with the 7th Training Squadron A.F.C. at Leighterton, and remained there until Armistice Day on 11 November 1918.

The Camperdown Chronicle, 4 March 1919, p.4. printed a letter from J.H. Hill of No.7 Training Squad, to the President of the Nalangil S. S. Committee in which he thanked the residents of Nalangil for a parcel of "dainties" that had been addressed to him by his sister.  At the time he was stationed in England, and also spoke of some of the horrors that he had experienced during the war.

On 19 March 1919, James Hill was taken on strength with the A.I.F. Headquarters (N.N.E.) in London.  He was immediately granted leave with pay, to allow him to attend a stock breeding course at H.S. Bennett Ludwell near Salisbury for three months from 19 March 1919-19 June 1919.  At the completion of his leave at Salisbury, he was granted further leave to attend the London School of Economics at Kingsway. This ran from 20 June 1919 to 19 July 1919.

After returning to duty on 1 September 1919, he was then detached to the A.I.F. Headquarters Australian Graves Services, at Villers-Bretonneux in France.

On 15 October 1919, James was sent to France and promoted to Temporary Sergeant. On 1 January 1920, he became a Temporary Staff Sergeant and on 31 May 1920 he was made a T.R.S. Sergeant.

He returned to England from duty in Belgium and France on 15 June 1921, and embarked to Australia per Demosthenes on 22 July 1921, disembarking at Melbourne on 13 September 1921.

James was discharged from the A.I.F. at Melbourne on 5 November 1921 with the rank of ER/S/Sgt and served with the A.A.S.C. 4th Division between 1924 and 1925.

Post War
In the middle of 1925, James applied for a Commission in the A.I.F.  His postal address was 47 Arnold Street, South Yarra, Victoria.  James Hill lost his R.S. Badge and applied for a replacement on 8 July 1931.

In 1937, James applied to join the A.A.S.C. 2nd Division. There is no record of any service with that unit.

On 22 April 1937, J.H. Hill wrote to the Officer in Charge of Records from 2 Washington Street, Sydney, enquiring about his eligibility for a Long Service Decoration.   

James Henry Hill reenlisted to serve in World War 2, and his Service Number was NX427. He served with the Australian Army Service Corps and becoming a Major by the time of his discharge on 22 July, 1942.  His World War 2 service record has not been released yet, but it is documented that he was awarded the Australian Efficiency Medal. (This was sold at auction in 1997). 

His World War 2 service is listed as:
"HILL JAMES HENRY : Service Number - NX427 : Date of birth - 11 Sep 1896 : Place of birth - CORUNNUM VIC : Place of enlistment - Unknown : Next of Kin - HILL WINIFRED".

James Hill died on 23 September, 1974 at Anglesea, and was buried on the 27 September 1974, with his parents, in the Colac Cemetery.

Medals and Entitlements:
  • British War Medal
  • Returned Serviceman’s Badge
  • Defence Force Service Medal
  • Efficiency Decoration (GRI) - AUSTRALIA
Notes
The name "Hill, J. H." first appeared in the Roll of Honor, Werribee Shire Banner, 6 March 1919, p.1.

No. 7 Squadron AFC relocated to Leighterton on 23 February 1917, where it remained until disbanded in March 1919. The squadron's principal role was to prepare personnel for service with what was at first 69 (Australian) Squadron, RFC, and subsequently 3 Squadron, AFC, which was operating with British forces over the Western Front.

There is a short biography and a photo of James Henry Hill at
http://gnet.geelongcollege.vic.edu.au:8080/wiki/Hill-James-Henry-1896-1974.ashx

His Efficiency Decoration (GRI) - AUSTRALIA. Engraved NX427 Lt.Col. J.H. Hill A.A.S.C., was auctioned in 1997 and realised $210.
www.noble.com.au/auctions/lot?id=107104

His Defence Force Service Medal, in its case of issue, with miniature and ribbon bar, was auctioned in 1997 and realised $120.
www.noble.com.au/auctions/lot?id=107102

Abbreviations
A.A.S.C. – Australian Army Service Corps
R.S. Badge – Returned Serviceman Badge
M.U.R. – Melbourne University Regiment. [Provided military training for members at Melbourne University and the public schools of Melbourne and Geelong].
V.O. – Voyage Only.
2/AM – 2nd Class Air Mechanic.

Bibliography

Federation Index CD 1889 to 1901

Trove - http://trove.nla.gov.au/

No. 7 Training Sqn - https://www.awm.gov.au/unit/U51023/

Service History - http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/

Embarkation List - https://www.awm.gov.au/people/roll-search/nominal_rolls/first_world_war_embarkation/?

Colac Cemetery Records – http://www.gct.net.au/deceased-search/

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