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Lt-Col CGH St. Hill Photo - North Devon Hussars

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Hi. I am trying to find a photograph of Lieutenant-Colonel Collis George Herbert St. Hill of the North Devon Hussars. He was killed in action in France 8/7/1917. I'm hoping that as he was a senior rank, a photo might still exist of him. Any help or advice where one might be is greatly appreciated.

Cheers

Phil

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Hi Phil - can't help with a photo - but a couple of sources suggest he spent time with other Regiments - so it might widen the possibilities

MIC

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The Times, Saturday, Aug 04, 1917; pg. 4; Issue 41548; col A

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A commercial site that sells WW1 photos etc says it has an obit of him from De Ruvigny's - no doubt someone would be happy to look him up for you if you don't have that already

Good Luck

Sue

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Name: ST. HILL, GEORGE HERBERT

Initials: G H

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Lieutenant Colonel

Regiment/Service: Royal North Devon Hussars

Age: 52

Date of Death: 08/07/1917

Awards: Mentioned in Despatches

Additional information: Son of the Rev. Canon Woodford St. Hill; husband of Annabel St. Hill (nee Maryon-Wilson), of 10, Wilbraham Place, London, S.W.1. Served in the Royal North Devon Hussars for eighteen years and fought in the Matabele, Angoni, and South African Campaigns. Also served at Gallipoli, where he commanded the 6th Bn. Lincolnshire Regt. at the evacuation of Suvla Bay.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: E. 28.

Cemetery: NEUVILLE-BOURJONVAL BRITISH CEMETERY

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Thanks for replying. That obituary was great Sue. I would suspect the one you mention would be similar to this one, but I'll see if I can get it. I had downloaded his MIC, but for some reason hadn't noticed the change to Sherwood Foresters! I guess the North Devon reference in his CWGC listing was his 'parent' unit (as a guess). I wonder if the there are experts on Sherwood Foresters on the Forum? I would have expected photos of the Officer Commanding a regiment to be 'relatively' easy to get, but thats probably just my New Zealand perspective - we're a lot smaller, and high-ranked casualties were uncommon, and so were widely publicised.

Cheers

Phil

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No worries Phil - probably something in a local paper - or maybe Illustrated London News?? - think someone on the forum has some of them if not all and can do look ups

It might be worth checking with forum member Andrew Hesketh - he has a website specifically on lads from Derbyshire - but generally on the SF's

http://www.derbyshirelads.uwclub.net/

Good Luck

Sue

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He took over command quite late in the war so there will be no 'early' photos of him with 2/5th SF. However the 2/5th did write a Battlion History in the 1920s which may contain a picture. I know of a copy in Chesterfield Library and will try to have a look next time I am over, but it may be a few weeks.

cheers

Mike

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Following our earlier exchange of PMs I hope that by the time you see this you will have received a copy of his photo from the daughter of the officer sent back to England as the Battalion representative to report to Lt Col St Hill's widow. I look forward to seeing this photo myself as I have heard the story from within the family.

Attached is a a copy of the report of his death from "The Green Triangle, Being the History of the 2/5th Battalion The Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment) in the Great European War, 1914-1918" by W G Hall. 1920. There is no photo of him in the book.

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Regards

Nigel

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I am now able to attach the photograph of Lt Col Hill for you. He is of course dressed when in the Royal North Devon (Hussars) Yeomanry, Territorial Force, before he assumed command of the 2/5th Battalion The Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment) on February 25 1917.

The photograph is accompanied by the following manuscript note made in relatively recent years by Helen Smith, the wife (married subsequent to WW1) of the officer* sent back to England as the Battalion representative to report to Lt Col St Hill's widow:

"I thought Martin might like to have the photo of Colonel St Hill who was killed by Daddy's side. 1917. Daddy was commissioned to go to England and take the news to Mrs St Hill and their son Herod [2014 edit: His name was actually Hereward according to a great grand daughter] and daughter (forget her name**). Mrs St Hill liked Daddy very much and called him Smith, and offered to help him get a job once the war was over. He spent leaves with them and was taken to the Ritz by the daughter after being taken to various places to clean up (after being in the trenches). Daddy used to tell very amusing stories of Mrs St Hill trying to get him into the Diplomatic Services. They lived behind Harrods, in a very large home which must have been near to where I spent a war time holidays."

*[This officer was Captain Frank Woolley Smith OBE DFC. At a point after the death of Lt Col St Hill, Frank Smith was seconded to the RFC/RAF 29 BS and won his DFC as a balloon artillery observer where he was twice shot down. Mrs St Hill did indeed assist him with employment after the war and Frank became a tea planter in Assam. Here, in WW2, he and his wife billeted many high rank USAF officers who, from an airstrip behind his bungalow, flew missions “over the hump” to China. Later in WW2 he was in charge of a section of the building of the Ledo Road / The Stilwell Road.]

**[This daughter was Colline Ammabel St Hill. b. Mar Qtr 1900 Kensington RD, the son was Hereward Maryon St Hill b. Dec Qtr 1904 Kensington RD.]


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Hi Nigel

That is a superb photo, as I'm sure you'll agree. Many thanks for your perseverance in obtaining it - I'll be sure to thank the donor directly.

Cheers

Phil

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This photograph of a grave accompanies the above photograph of Lt Col St Hill, and was annotated on the rear by Captain F W Smith as follows:

' My Colonel's grave in France. Cross designed by an A.R.A sculptor & myself . now in Devonshire. Inscribed under'-- 'To live in the hearts of those we love is not to die'

It is not clear what the words “now in Devonshire” imply. Perhaps someone can tell me whether his remains were re-buried after the war in Devon. The CWGC site reports that his grave/memorial reference is at E. 28. Neuville-Bourjonval British Cemetery, and it is noted that there are four special memorials there, so possibly one of those is related is to Lt Col St Hill.

Perhaps someone can throw some light on this.

N.B. The left grave marked "Smith" is unconnected to the Capt F W Smith who wrote the above quoted note, see post at http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/i...p;hl=lancashire for details of this grave.

Nigel

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I visited the CWGC Cemetery at Neuville-Bourjonval on July 28 2008 and took photographs, a combination of which are shown here. It is an exquisitley manicured cemetery, but then so too were every other cemetery in northern France we visited. We have to be grateful to the CWGC staff who go to quite extraordinary lengths to maintain these cemeteries.

Lt Col St Hill is buried there with the standard CWGC headstone, showing his regiment as the Royal North Devon Hussars, with no acknowledgment as to his command of the 2/5th Battalion The Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment) at the time of his death.

I am now trying to track down the original headstone erected in wartime by the regiment, and returned to Devon after the cemetery was laid out post war. I think it may have gone to Bradninch, Devon, to an ancestral home near the village, or maybe to the church there, to act as a memorial stone. If I find it, it's image will appear here in due course.

Nigel Aspdin

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I am grateful to Warwick Knowles, Chairman of the Bradninch (Devon) History Society for photographing this plaque that is in St Disen's church in Bradninch. The plaque acknowledges Lt Col St Hill's command, at the time, of the 2/5 Sherwood Foresters.

The correct spelling place of death should be Villers-Plouich.

Below his plaque is one in memory of his widow. It should be noted for historical accuracy that her name was actually "Ammabel" and not "Annabel" as inscribed. By an order of the Privy Council of May 3 1923 as advertised in the London Gazette of June 1 1923 it was ordered that it be lawful to bury Mrs Rosie Ammabel St Hill in the Bradninch old churchyard upon her death notwithstanding an order made by Council of February 2 1899 directing the discontinuance of burials in the church and old churchyard.

Nigel Aspdin

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(Other keywords on plaque: Collis Matebele Angoni South African Gallipoli Sulva Bay 6th Lincolns Villers Pluich Villers-Plouich)

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Hi,

I am looking into the life of Collis George Herbert St. Hill who was my second cousin 3x removed in law. I have really enjoyed the information that you have provided so far. Can I ask are any of you related to him, if not what is peoples interest in him?

If anyone has any futher information about him or his wife and children, I would love to hear from you.

Many thanks,

Gertbat

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Hello Gertbat

In answer to your question, nobody to date is in any way related to Lt Col St Hill. This started, as you will read, from a request from New Zealand for a photograph of him. I knew the location of a photograph, for the historical reasons set out in my own posts, and having become involved I have tried to research the matter as best I can. It is possible to trace some of his descendants, as I have done it, but discretion prevents me from publishing that research as it is not really material to the story as you have read to date. It has however enabled me to alert a grandchild who I know has alerted another. I am sorry that this appears to tease. You may wish to contact me via a private message to explain more, or you can send me an email to my surname @gmail.com

Regards

Nigel

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Since NZMR (Phil's) original enquiry Find My Past has added De Ruvigny to it's collection -

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It is another fascinating thread

Cheers

Sue

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Hi Gertbat

The reason for my initial post was as part of my research into New Zealanders who served in the campaigns in Africa in the 1890's (formation of Rhodesia etc). As St. Hill was born in Napier, New Zealand he falls into my sphere of interest. There was no real interest in going too much into his family tree, I'm really looking at his life from a military perspective.

I have to thank Nigel Aspdin in particular for his excellent support he has provided in compiling this info on St. Hill and would also like to acknowledge Sue (Esskay) for her help in locating the information she has posted.

I am still trying to marry up his medal entitlement to the ribbons he is wearing in the photo, but it is proving quite difficult thus far.

Cheers

Phil

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Hello All

I see these postings go back quite a few years so you may have moved on to other discussions... Lt Col St Hill was my great-grandfather (my grandmother was Colline Annabel St Hill, named after her father I guess, to whom she was devoted by all accounts - the tradition continued with my father, Maj Gen Colin Sainthill Wallis-King RIP).

The narratives above are so revealing - how brave all the soldiers were, band of brothers - the photograph is beautiful, likewise of the memorial plaque, and the very moving picture of the grave - think we have a picture of this at home, possibly with palms laid at its base. I will try to upload the picture of my g-grandfather in ceremonial dress in due course...

I salute you all for your endeavours! Cheers, KW-K

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