GEORGE EDWARD HILLING (1883 – 27 March 1917)

George Edward Hilling was born in 1883 in Winchester, the second son of George Hilling, a butler, and his wife, Agnes. George Snr, had previously been in service at Poringland House in Norfolk.  He and Agnes had six children. The two eldest, William Thomas (born 1881) and George Edward were born in Weeke. Then, after they had moved to Langford, came three girls, Emily (1885), Agnes (1888) and Elsie (1890), and finally another son, Walter Henry (1892). The family lived at 1, Blackmoor before moving to Victoria Jubilee Memorial Cottages, Langford. George Senior was still  employed as a butler.

In 1901, George Edward, aged 17, was working as a grocer’s porter. However, by 1911, he was a police constable living in lodgings in Fishponds, Bristol. There, he married  Rose Clark and they had a son whom George never saw.

George Edward was Gunner 291727 and was serving in France with the 129th Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery when he was killed in action on 27th March 1917.  He was 34. He is buried at the Ecoivres Military cemetery at Mont-St.Eloi (IV.H.8), Pas de Calais, France. This cemetery is 8 kilometres north west of Arras and contains 1,728 Commonwealth, 786 French and 4 German war graves.

The following appeared in the Weston Mercury & Somersetshire Herald on 14th April 1917:-


We deeply regret to announce the death of Private George Hilling, second son of Mr and Mrs G. Hilling of Langford, who was killed in action on the 26th ult. Gunner Hilling was born and brought up in Langford and attended Churchill School, where his portrait hangs with those of many other old boys who are fighting in honour’s cause, and some of whom, alas, will never return. The dead hero, whose two brothers are both serving at the Front, was for 12 years in the Bristol Police Force. He joined the Bristol Heavy Battery of Artillery, and was drafted to France a year ago. There is added pathos in the fact that he had not seen the little son who was born during his absence, and, needless to say, heartfelt sympathy is entertained with Mr and Mrs Hilling, who are much respected in the village, and with the young widow and child. Private Hilling was a fine man both physically and in personal attributes, and the following letters bear eloquent testimony to his heroism and bravery:

-th Heavy Battery


March 26th 1917

Dear Mrs Hilling, – I am very grieved to tell you that your husband, Gunner G.E. Hilling, was killed in action this afternoon. He died in a noble endeavour to procure water for his fellow gunners. His death has robbed us of one of the best gunners of the battery. He was always cheery, even in the most trying conditions. You will be glad to know that he suffered no pain, being killed instantaneously. He left a will in his pay book, which has been forwarded to the base, leaving £11 his property and effects to you, his wife. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you as I was his section officer.

Yours sincerely


The following letter is from his brother William:

Dear Father and Mother, – It is with deep regret, I have to write and tell you of poor George’s death. He was killed by a German shell and died instantly, so one good thing poor George knew nothing of it. Frank and I have been up to the cemetery today, and we are going to the funeral tomorrow, the 28th. It is a hard task for me to write and tell you this news. I shall miss him more than I can say. He was just the same here as he was at home. I have written to poor Rose. I will write more next time. Frank wishes to be remembered to you all.

From your loving son,


So died a brave soldier and British Gentleman”.