2nd Irish Guards, 13 April 1918
Synopsis of Life and Military Service
Joseph Leopold Frederick Hill, known as Fred Hill was born 19th May 1895 at Grange County Tipperary, Ireland, his father being shown in the Registration of Births as a Royal Irish Constabulary Pensioner. Very little is known about his life but it is known that in 1911 he was residing with his sister and brother-in-law at 54 St. Albans Road, Dublin, his occupation given as an apprentice in a Hardware Shop. Prior to the outbreak of the Great War, he was working for Messrs Burgess’s furniture establishment in Athlone, Ireland.
After the outbreak of the war in August 1914, he enlisted into the 2nd Irish Guards in April 1915 at Galway as Private 7780 and at some point his residence was shown as Acton, London.
Following his training he entered the Flanders / France Theatre of War on the 14 October 1915 and was later promoted to Lance Serjeant.
According to the Leinster Reporter, he was twice wounded – first, at the battle of Ypres, April, 1916, and secondly, at the battle of Boullion Wood in November, 1917.
The Report on the battle which ‘Fred’ was involved in and which probably led to his death is missing from his Battalion’s War Diary, however, the book ‘The Irish Guards in the Great War by Rudyard Kipling’ states “The 4th Guards Brigade, which had been in billets near Villers-Brulin, after its heavy work on the Arras side, was despatched on the 10th April (1918) to the flat country round Vierhoek, and there — as will be told — spent itself in the desperate fighting round La Couronne and Vieux-Berquin that gave time to bar the enemies’ way to Hazebrouck and — wiped out the 2nd Battalion.”
Clearly the battle which ‘Fred’ Hill had been involved in was one of severe carnage and death and it is highly likely that he was wounded in this battle which ultimately led to his death.
He was later honoured and remembered at Ploegsteert Memorial, Hainaut, Belgium as either he was never found or his body remained unidentified.
His mother Anna was the sole legate to his belongings.
Leinster Reporter dated 27 April 1918
ROLL OF HONOUR
THE LATE SERGEANT FRED HILL, IRISH GUARDS
Profound regret and deep sympathy with the grief-stricken parents was the prevailing feeling in Birr and district when the sad news became known that the above-named fine young soldier had been killed in action on 13th April, at the early age of 22 years. These feelings were also accentuated by the fact that only a very short time ago he was home for a brief holiday, when his fine appearance was very favourably commented on; and, certainly, he was a credit to his country, as well as to the flag he so nobly fought and died for. Tall and of fine physique, he was every inch a soldier and a man. Of a quiet unassuming disposition and cheery nature, he was beloved by all, and his comrades of the trenches, as well as his acquaintances in civil life, found him a loyal, true-hearted friend.
Before joining the army he held a fine position in Messrs Burgess’s furniture establishment in Athlone, but answering the call of duty he joined up in April, 1915. He was twice wounded – first, at the battle of Ypres, April, 1916, and secondly, at the battle of Boullion Wood in November, 1917. He was the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. John Hill, Cumberland Street, Birr, and the sad news was conveyed in a letter from another son (James), of the same regiment. We tender to the afflicted parents our sincere sympathy in this their hour of trial, and venture to hope that their grief will be softened somewhat by the knowledge that their gallant son laid down his young life in the sacred cause of liberty, in company with many thousands of other brave men, whose names will live in the ages to come.
Fred was born 19th May 1895 at Grange, County Tipperary, Ireland. The following family information is taken from the 1911 Census and the Commonwealth War Graves Records.
His family is shown as follows :-
- Father: John Hill.
- Mother: Anna Maria Hill.
- Sister: Annie Elizabeth Hill or Hanan, born c.1883 at Tipperary.
- Brother: James.
The following addresses have been ascertained for Joseph L. ‘Fred’ Hill. :-
- 1911 – 54 St. Albans Road, Dublin.
In his Pension Card following his death, his father John is shown as residing at 1 Blackwood Street, Omega Road, Belfast and his mother Anna Maria at Cumberland Street, Birr, King’s County, Ireland.
Fred Hill was awarded the 1914-15 Star, Victory and the British War Medals for his service in the Great War.
Frederick Hill is honoured and remembered on the St Brendan’s Church of Ireland Church in Birr.
Links to Additional Information
- Find a Grave website – Joseph Leopold Frederick Hill
- A Street Near You website – Joseph Leopold Frederick Hill
- Lives of the First World War – Joseph Leopold Frederick Hill
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission – Joseph Leopold Frederick Hill
- Archive.Org – The Irish Guards in the Great War by Rudyard Kipling
The War Diary of the 2nd Irish Guards on the date of his death and a few days before refers to an additional report which should have been attached to the War Diary, however this is no longer the case and it appears to be missing from the records.
- Medal Index Card.
- Soldiers Died in the Great War.
- Pension Card.
- Register of Soldiers Effects.
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
- Find a Grave.
- 1911 Census
- Medal Roll – Irish Guards – British War Medal and Victory Medal.
- Leinster Reporter dated 14 April 1918.
- Ireland’s WW1 Casualties – Ancestry.
- Medal Roll – Victory and British War Medals – Irish Guards.
- The Irish Guards in the Great War by Rudyard Kipling.
- Register of Births.
- Vincent Stuart.
- Stephen Callaghan (Birth Details & War Memorial)