Richard Ernest Gill WW1

Private Richard Gill was born and baptised in Bishopsteignton in June, 1883 to his father James and mother Sarah Jane. He married Elizabeth Anne Townsend (born in Bishopsteignton in 1887) at St John’s Church on the 22nd October, 1904 and was a general labourer. The family lived at The Terrace, Bishopsteignton. He enlisted in the 2nd Battalion Devonshire Regiment as a private 26096 and according to military records died on 7th March 1917 of wounds received in France and Flanders.

Early Life

Richard Gill was born in Bishopsteignton in June, 1883 to his father James and mother Sarah Jane and there is a record of his baptism on the 20th June that year in St John’s church. He married Elizabeth Anne Townsend (born in Bishopsteignton in 1887) at St John’s Church, Bishopsteignton on the 22nd October, 1904. They had a daughter Violet Maude born in 1906 who was also baptised in the church.

Military Experience

Richard enlisted and was part of the 2nd Battalion Devonshire Regiment as a private.

Details of the 2nd Battalion’s movements in the First World War can be found in the Keep military museum in Dorchester but it seems likely considering the date that he was involved in the Heudecourt attack as described below.

“Returning to the Somme, on 8th/9th November they captured and consolidated a ridge near Le Transloy before being rested at Vergies.  In early 1917 they followed up the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line.  In March they lost 25 casualties attacking Heudecourt and on 13th April another 45 attacking Villers Guislains.” [1]

Death and Burial

Richard died on 7th March 1917, aged 33 years, of wounds received in France and Flanders.  There is a grave registered in Bray Memorial Cemetery, II. D. 44. Val Poulain, 80340 Bray-sur-Somme, France,

Service Number 26096, Died 07/03/1917, Aged 33,  2nd Bn. Devonshire Regiment

Husband of the late Elizabeth Anne Gill, of Bishop’s Teignton, Teignmouth.”[2]

A “Mrs L Full” of 4, Verbena Terrace, Radway Street , Bishopsteignton was the name associated with the inscription as his wife had passed away at the end of the war.

Details and his commemorative certificate can be found here

Descendants

It seems that his wife Elizabeth, aged 31, died on the 13th Nov 1918 at Chapel Court, Bishopsteignton, reason currently unknown. It could possibly be the Spanish flu that affected millions after the war. His daughter Violet Maude married John David Edge in March 1957 and she passed away in 1978. There is a Gill headstone in his memory in the churchyard of St John’s Bishopsteignton.

The Gill family was a very local family for several generations and there are current Gills still living today in the village.