Sunday, November 18, 2012

"With the Cross of the Lord to watch over him"

Signalman Peter R. Hill (1919 - 1943), 
Royal Corps of Signals
One of those who died building the Burma - Siam railway
Photograph: Courtesy of 'The Whitehaven News' 

For additional information click on 'Comments' below.


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

Some biographical details

Signalman Peter Raymond Hill (1919 - 1943) from Whitehaven, Cumberland (now Cumbria) served with the Royal Corps of Signals during WW2. He was taken prisoner by the Japanese at the fall of Singapore in February 1942. He met his death on 29 August 1943 while being forced to work on the construction of the notorious Burma - Siam railway.

Signalman Peter Raymond Hill was the son of Tom Brown Hill and Sarah Hill (née Dowey), whose family home was at Bedford Street, Hensingham, Whitehaven. Peter Hill's eldest brother, Horace, was a musician living in the Southport area of Lancashire. A second brother, Joshua (born 1913), served in Italy with the Welch Regiment during the war.

Initially, Signalman Peter R. Hill was among those reported missing when Singapore fell. Mr and Mrs Hill received word of their son's death more than two years after he had died. It was in November 1945, after the Japanese surrender, that they received the grim and unwelcome news. His obituary then appeared in 'The Whitehaven News', the local newspaper in his home area.

In addition to receiving official confirmation of their son's death, they received a letter from one of Peter Hill's pals from London who had been a fellow prisoner of the Japanese and had been with Signalman Hill when he died. According to Peter Hill's pal:

"He lies in a beautiful jungle grave with the cross of the Lord watching over him".

Subsequently, many of the graves of the Allied POWs who had died and were buried along the northern section of the railway, between Moulmein and Nieke were reburied in one large cemetery at Thanbyuzayat, Myanmar (previously Burma). There are almost 3000 identified casualties in Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery. Signalman Peter R. Hill's final resting place is in plot B4.H.3.

Before joining the army, Signalman Peter Raymond Hill played cricket for his local team, Hensingham and was a fine batsman. After being drafted to Singapore in 1940, before the Japanese invasion, Peter Hill developed his cricketing skills in matches against Australians who were stationed at Singapore.

CWGC citation

This is the Commonwealth War Graves citation for Signalman Peter Raymond Hill:

Rank: Signalman
Service No: 2329693
Date of Death: 29/08/1943
Age: 24
Regiment/Service: Royal Corps of Signals
(attd. 3rd Indian Div. Sigs. Indian Signal Corps)
Grave Reference: B4. H. 3.
Cemetery: THANBYUZAYAT WAR CEMETERY, Myanmar (Burma)

Additional Information:
Son of Tom Brown Hill and Sarah Hill, of Hensingham, Cumberland.


This article is dedicated to Signalman Peter Raymond Hill, Royal Corps of Signals:

"A soldier's grave in an unknown land,
Holds one who was loved so dear;
His smiling face never returned
When they sounded the last 'All clear'."

Rest in peace!


Cumbria County Archives & Local History Centre
(Whitehaven Records Office)

The Whitehaven News

Sunday, 18 November, 2012  

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