Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Sign in to follow this  
MaggieP

Roland Justus Hill - Otago Regiment NZEF

Recommended Posts

MaggieP

I am looking for information on 8/1056 Captain Roland Justus Hill, my husband's great uncle who was the son of noted Victorian artist Justus Hill who lived in Acton/Ealing. Roland had moved to New Zealand a few years before WW1 and enlisted in the NZEF. He received the Military Cross for gallantry and was then mentioned in despatches in 1917 and was killed on March 3rd 1918. This we know from an obituary in the Acton Gazette and the War Grave Commission entry.

Today I received a copy of the Official History of the Otago Regiment by Byrne and hoped to find the circummstances of his death. We were amazed to read:-

A tragic affair occurred in the 2nd Battalion lines on March 3rd. Captain R. J. Hill, M.C., and 2nd-Lieut. D.

McLean, M.M., were fatally shot without apparent reason by a private of the Battalion Transport, who, presumably

insane, subsequently shot himself. A funeral service held in the Hondeghem Cemetery on the following day was

attended by representatives of each Company and of other branches of the Division.

So poor Roland died as the result of an internal tragedy. It would be great to know more and perhaps have a picture of this forgotten family member. It would also be nice to know how he won his MC and the circumstances of his MD.

[/size]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
KevinBattle

Hello, MaggieP, quite by chance I have begun expanding on the Acton Roll of Honour and have just been comparing the RoH of about 718 Names with all the reports in the Acton Gazette.

There was a report of a Mention in Despatches carried in the 15/6/17 edition, and I believe that he lived at Shalimar Gardens Acton. The report of 1/3/18 notes the award of his MC. The Gazette has many photos but I haven't a notation of such against Captain RJ Hill, but I shall be returning to Ealing Central Library shortly and will see what more there is.

This level of detail is remarkable, thank you for posting and if I may, can I include this information?

I don't have access to his Medal Index Card or other information such as the London Gazette where such awards were noted, but I'm sure another Forum Pal will be along shortly to fill in any gaps.

If you haven't already done so, it might be worth calling up the Cemeteries option (change it in the "Casualty" box) for Hondeghem cemetery and see if any other NZ entries around that date appear. It might provide the name of the man who shot himself, another little piece of the puzzle. Don't bother, just done so myself, only 9 burials, just Hill and McLean, no others 03/03/18. Incidentally I thought officers were awarded the MC but 2nd Lieutenant McLean is shown as MM..... maybe a promotion from the ranks?

I'll let you know if anything of interest is in the Gazette.

Regards, Kevin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
(nzef)

Hi,

In case you havent seen the citations

M.C

Quatermaster and Honorary Lieut, 2nd Btn, Otago Reg.

L.G 1 Jan 1918, p53, Rec no 1184

Operations Messines 7th to 12th June and operations opposite Warneton 14th to 19th June 1917. For conspicuous gallantry and deovotion to duty. As Quatermaster to his battalion this officer has displayed the greatest gallantry and devotion to duty in personally taking forward rations and supplies up to the front line, he himself superintending their distribution under heavy shellfire. His energy and initiative have at all times invoked the highest praise and it has been mainly due to his efforts that the fighting men in the front line have never run short of food or water. He is deserving of special disinction.

M.I.D

L.G 1 June 1917, p5429, Rec No 633

British Front Armentieres and Operations Somme 20th September - 2nd October 1916. This Officer has held the appointment of Quartermaster to his Battalion for the past 11 months and has carried out the duties with conspicuous success. On all occasion the Battalion has been well fed and equiped and especially during the operations on the Somme. Lieut Hill was untiring in his efforts to ensure that the men in the front line recieved their rations, water and ammunition regularly. This he never failed to do and personally accompanied the rations to the Battalion dumps under heavy shellfire to ensure their safe arrival.

Accidentally killed (shot by soldier), France 3 March 1918

From Honours & Awards to the NZEF in the Great War by Wayne McDonald

Cheers

Grant

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
KevinBattle

Thank you both. I see that they had difficulty in correctly spelling Justus and took the logical route to "Justice"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MaggieP

Thank you everyone for the replies so far. It is great to see the citations. I am now awaiting Roland Hill's service records from New Zealand.

Thank you Kevin especially for your knowledge of Acton. Justus Hill senior and many of his family did live at 40, Shalimar Gardens Acton. According to the obituary (1925) of Justus senior, as well as losing his son Roland, he lost another son Air Mechanic Harold Hill who was wounded in France by a bomb 0n 26th September 1918 and died on 4th October 1918. The obituary was in The Acton gazette - not quite sure of the date, but obviously soon after his death. A daughter was recorded as dying of shock during an air raid sometime in 1917-1918.

We know nothing more about these other family members than I have written above. We found out these facts from a visit to Ealing Libray to see the Justus Hill collection of paintings and the archivist Jonathan Oates had kindly found some WW1 facts for us. You are welcome to use whatever you like of the information and we will welcome any more information on the Hill family of Acton/Ealing.

Thank You.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
KevinBattle

MaggieP, it's a small world, as I have been spending time with Jonathan going through the Acton Roll of Honour, photographing each page then transcribing all 718 and fleshing out where possible.

No doubt you have the CWGC info on Harold?

Name HILL, HAROLD. Rank: Air Mechanic 1st Class. Service No: 221241

Regiment/Service: 1st Aeroplane Supply Depot Repair Park Royal Air Force

Age: 32. Date of Death: 04/10/1918

Additional information: Son of Justus and Hannah Elizabeth Hill, of Acton.

Grave/Memorial Reference: IV. E. 13. Cemetery: Terlincthun British Cemetery, Wimille

You may know that Park Royal is just a short distance North of Acton. As yet I haven't got that far into the alphabet to have much more info, but will see what the Acton Gazette archives contain. Flight magazine generally has a good deal of information, but I can only find a Cadet H Hill died in the 29th September edition, which is a week earlier than the date given on the CWGC site. The RAF Roll of Honour published each week seems to only show Officers or Cadets, no lower ranks at that stage of the War. If I get any more, I'll obviously post,as no doubt will other Forum Pals who may have useful information to contribute.

You may also note a couple of my recent postings on here have been with regard to Jonathan and his recent book on Unsolved London Murders!!

Cheers, Kevin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Sue D

Dear Maggie, and contributors,

I hope you are still active on this forum.

i have inherited some letters written to my Great Aunt by soldiers billeted with her family during WWar I.

among them are some from Rowland Hill, Otago Battn, NZF in England in 1917, prior to his departure to France.

I also have a small photo.

I don't know if there was more than one serviceman of this name in the Otago batallion, or if this could be your relative?

Sue D 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
pukman

I had a short article ,that was published in the New Zealand Military Historical Societies ,journal ,volume 40 ,March 2015 .It was about this ''tragic affair'' .If anyone wants a scanned copy ,PM me .Cheers Iain D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MaggieP
14 hours ago, pukman said:

I had a short article ,that was published in the New Zealand Military Historical Societies ,journal ,volume 40 ,March 2015 .It was about this ''tragic affair'' .If anyone wants a scanned copy ,PM me .Cheers Iain D

Roland was our great uncle, and we discovered this sad story 7 years ago. Amazing to see the full papers now released, and yes we would love a scanned copy of the journal article. We do accept that in wartime it would do no good to know that a private had gone berserk and murdered his officers......just very sad. And yes I did trace Roland's granddaughter (now sadly deceased) and shared with her her English background, and she sent me documents and a picture of his MC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Martyn61

MaggieP 

 

interested to know if any other New Zealanders are mentioned in the letters you have?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
NZ War Graves

Phootgraphs of both graves from this tragedy are on our website www.nzwargraves.org. His service record shows Roland Justice Hill. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PaulGane

Hi Maggie,

 

Are you still looking for information on Captain Roland Hill? I am trying to find out more information. 

 

He is also my grandfather's uncle. My grandfather being Terry Blake (South African).

 

I have a letter, photo and badges from Captain Hill from WWI. The letter was written in July 1917 only a few months before he was tragically killed.  

 

Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moonraker

Hullo, Paul, and welcome to the Forum. Maggie last visited us on April 11, 2017. I'll try to send her a Private Message which she may, or may not, pick up, to alert her to your post.

 

Moonraker

Edited by Moonraker

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MaggieP
4 hours ago, PaulGane said:

Hi Maggie,

 

Are you still looking for information on Captain Roland Hill? I am trying to find out more information. 

 

He is also my grandfather's uncle. My grandfather being Terry Blake (South African).

 

I have a letter, photo and badges from Captain Hill from WWI. The letter was written in July 1917 only a few months before he was tragically killed.  

 

Paul

Yes Paul, we are always interested to hear more about Great Uncle Rowland. His full birth name was Rowland Justus Hill, but the Otago regiment made that Roland Justice. Would be interested to know where your grandfather is in the tree, and to see copies of the letter and badges. In return, I am sure we have information and copy documents and pictures we can give you, once we have a clearer idea of what you know and have. Do get in touch Regards Maggie

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PaulGane

Hi Maggie,

 

I believe my grandfather's father (Frederick Ernest Blake) was married to Edith Hill. Roland Hill must have been her brother...? How many siblings were there? 

 

Edith Hill must have moved to South Africa before the war began but she died soon after it in 1924? 

 

I have attached a photo of a letter Roland Hill wrote to my grandfather in July 1917 together with his photo and numerous badges he sent... We also have a Justus Hill painting in our house. 

 

Would love to know more about what you know...

 

Paul

 

 

 

Captain Roland Hill - letter, photo and badges.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...