Hill, Walter Edward

He was the only son of the Reverend Canon Charles Rowland Haydock Hill (Coll., 1864-1869), Rector of Holy Trinity, Dorchester; his mother was Ellen Hill, second daughter of the Hon. Edward Bennet Wrottesley, and after her husband’s death she and her son lived at 68 Kingsgate Street Winchester.

Walter Hill came to Winchester from Mr. Pellatt’s school at Langton Matravers. Pellatt later wrote the foreword to “Letters to his Mother from Walter Edward Hill” (privately published, Dorchester, 1916), which was dedicated “To our many friends in Dorchester”. According to Pellatt, “As a boy, he was not one who found things easy and simple at first. He did not sweep all before him, or find in his school-life one arena after another of conquest and success… Always from earliest childhood he had an intense loyalty of spirit, a heart full of affection, a kindliness of soul, that none of the changes and chances and disappointments of boyhood could ever cloud… This boy, I may tell you… was intensely reserved… To his acquaintances – even to many of his friends – he may have seemed full of pleasant talk, casual, in a sense happy-go-lucky; but deep down in his soul there were ambitions which, till the moment the call came, he had never had the strength to more than partly realize… From earliest childhood he was gifted with a real sense of retrospective imagination: he could understand, even before he went to Winchester, what is meant by such expressions as “the heritage of a people”…

He was gazetted in April 1911 to the 3rd Battalion North Staffordshire Regiment and on the outbreak of war was attached to the 1st Battalion, being sent for training near Cambridge on 16th August. His mother visited him there on 26th August and it would appear came to 68 Kingsgate Street immediately after that visit, as Hill wrote to welcome her there. On 31st August the battalion moved to camp near Newmarket and established the officers’ mess in the Jockey Club rooms. On 8th September the 1st North Staffords set sail for St Nazaire, arriving on 10th September to reinforce the hard pressed British Expeditionary Force during the closing stages of the Battle of the Aisne, before moving north into Flanders. He wrote his last letter home on 21st September 1914 describing how he had slept in a “mud field” the previous night and were currently occupying a hayloft, and asking for some chocolate, cigarettes and matches to be sent out. They moved to Soupir the following day and on 25th September 1914 he was killed in action in the closing stages of the Battle of the Aisne.

War: World War 1

  • Surname: Hill
  • Forenames or initials: Walter Edward
  • House: C
  • Years in School: 1906-1909
  • Rank: Lieutenant
  • Regiment: North Staffordshire Regiment
  • Date of Birth: 6th September 1892
  • Date of Death: 25th September 1914
  • How Died: Killed in action
  • Location in War Cloister: Outer D5
  • Decoration: NA
  • Burial Site: SOUPIR CHURCHYARD: Grave B.1