1915-2015: Abergele & District Commemorations: Gordon Gray Hill

Private 67, Gordon Gray Hill, Singapore Volunteer Rifles, died (possibly from malaria), 16 July 1915. Plot 37. F. 13., Kranji War Cemetery, Singapore. Originally buried at Bididari Christian Cemetery, Singapore, under an earth mound. Not commemorated in the Abergele district.

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Born Didsbury, Manchester, 30 August 1888. Son of James and Christina Gray Hill, of Glandŵr, Pensarn, and later of Sherrards, Welwyn, Hertfordshire. Educated at Winchester College 1902-1907 and St. John’s College, Oxford.

Gordon’s father, James, was a Manchester Cotton Merchant who shipped goods from and between China, Japan and India. Gordon, after Oxford, had worked in his father’s offices for two years before moving to Singapore as part of the business. He was living and working in Singapore when war broke out.

On the outbreak of war he immediately volunteered in the Singapore Rifles. He took part in repressing a mutiny among native troops early in 1915 and was subsequently detailed to perform guard duties at various places round Singapore. While stationed at Labrador, on the western point of the city of Singapore, in early July 1915 he caught a severe chill.

An ‘In Memoriam’ carried by The Times on 16 July 1918 stated that he died “very suddenly, from heart failure, following pneumonia contracted while on active service…In life, loving much, he was much beloved, and in death deeply mourned”.

At the time of his death The Times carried a slightly different, cause of death: “in Singapore from acute malarial fever contracted while on active service…only and dearly loved son of Christina and James Gray Hill of Manchester and Glandwr, Abergele’.

His grave carries the epitaph, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee. In memory of the dearly loved only son of James and Christina Gray Hill of Sherrards, Welwyn, Hetrs.

Author: Andrew Hesketh

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