Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthOctober 7, 1876
Place of BirthDumfries
CountryScotland
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinWife: Jessie Hill
Trade / CallingTeamster
ReligionPresbyterian
Service Details
Regimental Number198592
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion43rd Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Address at EnlistmentKeewatin, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentDecember 28, 1915
Age at Enlistment39
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathFebruary 28, 1948
Age at Death71
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
Plot41E-29-1

Hill, Thomas

Thomas Hill was born Oct. 7, 1876 in Applegarth, Dumfries-shire, Scotland, the son of William and Rachel Hill.

In the 1881 census he was listed as living with his grandfather David Hill at Dalmkedder Cottage in Applegarth along several other extended family members. By 1891 he was working as a farm servant at the nearby Cleughbrae Farm owned by the Ewart family.

Thomas Hill formalized his marriage by declaration to Jessie Sturgeon on Nov. 29, 1897 in Glasgow where he worked as a carter. Their son James Aiken Sturgeon Hill had been born the previous year on   Feb 13, 1896 and a second child, daughter Janet Hill, was born on April 18, 1898.

In 1911 Thomas Hill and his family immigrated to Canada. Settling first in Saskatchewan and moving to Keewatin, Ontario in 1915 where a third child, Robert James Hill was born.

Thomas Hill enlisted with the 94th Battalion CEF being raised in the area late in 1915; he signed his attestation papers on Dec. 28, 1915. At the time he was employed as a teamster with the local flour mill. Two weeks earlier his eldest son James had joined up.

Father and son trained with the 94th in Kenora, Port Arthur and Valcartier, Quebec before sailing to England with the battalion in July of 1916. In England the battalion was dispersed with the men used as replacement troops for units already fighting in the field. Thomas and James were assigned to the 17th Reserve Battalion on July 13, 1916, and later sent France to serve with the 43rd (Manitoba) Battalion, the Winnipeg-based Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada.

James Hill died May 21, 1917 from shrapnel wounds when he stepped on a German rifle grenade lying on a sunken road he was walking along.

Thomas Hill was wounded the same year in fighting in the Somme and later transferred to the 18th Reserve Battalion, which served as replacement pool of soldiers from Manitoba/Northwestern Ontario battalions including the 52nd Battalion (formed from volunteers throughout Northwestern Ontario in early 1915), the 8th Battalion (formed at the start of the war was made up of volunteers from Winnipeg and from the 96th Lake Superior Regiment of the Active Militia), and the 107th Pioneer Battalion, also raised in Winnipeg.

With Thomas and James overseas in the army Jessie had returned to Scotland in 1916 and she was living in Glasgow when she was informed of her son’s death in 1917.

At war’s end Thomas and Jessie returned to Keewatin, Thomas with returning troops and Jessie aboard the liner the Grampian, arriving in Quebec City on May 22, 1919.

Thomas took employment with the town of Keewatin working as a waterman after the war until retirement. Son Robert James moved west and settled in Manitoba while daughter Janet also went west, marrying Arthur Edwin Wild, another war veteran. They lived in Manitoba and later Saskatchewan.

Thomas Hill died on Feb. 28, 1948. His obituary noted he had been a strong supporter and worker at   the Keewatin Legion and a member of the Order of Foresters. He is buried in the soldiers section at the Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario.

Jessie Hill passed away a decade later on July 22, 1958. She is also interred at the Lake of the Woods Cemetery.

Thomas  is commemorated for his service on the Lake of the Woods Milling Company Roll of Honour and on the Municipality of Keewatin For King and Country plaque.

by Bob Stewart


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