Thomas Hill, was the son of James and Eliza Hill of Orchard Cottage, Yates Hay Road and West View, Malvern Link. He was born in Malvern in 1895 to a labourer. In 1901 the Hill family, consisting of two sons and two daughters , lived at Orchard Cottage, Yates Hay Road, Malvern, Worcestershire. After the death of Mr Hill, Mrs Hill remarried to a Mr Rowley. In 1911, the family were living at West View, Upper Howsell Road, Malvern – Thomas’ father James was shown as a builder’s labourer, and Thomas was an errand boy.
In October 1914, 1st Loyal North Lancashire Regiment were near Hooge Chateau, and were moved forward between the V of Velohuey and Nonne Bosschen. The North Lancs were “told we should be relieved on the 12th, but were sent up to the line instead and relieved the remnants of the Scots Guards – two officers and about 50 men. We were in two trenches about 80 yards in circumference, most uncomfortable. ‘On our right were the West Riding Regt., and on our left the Gloucesters. We were heavily shelled on the 12th but only lost one man ‘ (Thomas Bernard Hill?). ‘The Chateau was, however, completely wrecked; a large shell hit it plumb in the centre and it collapsed like a pack of cards, much to the astonishment of the West Ridings – I think they thought it was a mine.’
The Register of Soldiers’ Effects states that he died ‘on or since’ the 12/10/14. If the men were heavily shelled he may have been caught by a shell and his body disappeared.
At some point, Mathilda Hill must have remarried as in October 1915 the Malvern News reported: “Mrs Rowley of Greenfields, Upper Howsell received a communication that her son Cpl Harry Richard Hill LNLancs was killed on 25/9/15. Another son, Pte Thomas Hill of the same regiment was wounded on the 12/10/14 and missing ever since.”
Sue Smith 2018