BILL John Dennis
Regiment : 43rd Battalion Canadian Infantry (Manitoba Regiment)
Service number : 421025
Conflict : WW1
Date of death : 22nd May 1916 aged 23
Buried : Brandhoek Military Cemetery, Belgium, Grave II. D. 14.
Relatives : Son of Bradney and Emily Bill, 1 Park Lane, Wollaston, Stourbridge, England.
Memorial : Stourbridge War Memorial
Also appears on : Wollaston St James's Church
Credits : Canadian Service Records and Canadian War Graves Registry researched by Sandra Taylor. CWGC and Stourbridge information researched by The Black Country Society. Additional research and photographs courtesy and copyright of Jim Busby.
16 High Park Avenue, Wollaston
Beadney Bill, head, aged 31
Emily A. Bill, wife, aged 37
Sidney G. Bill, adopted son, aged 9
John D. Bill, son, aged 8
Gertrude B. Bill, daughter, aged 6
John Bill enlisted in the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force on 18th February 1915 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. On his attestation paper he gave his date of birth as 31st December 1892 in Stourbridge, Worcestershire, his occupation as a farmer and his next of kin as his father, Bradney Bill, 1 Park Lane, Wollaston, Worcestershire, England. John was 5ft 6½ inches tall with blue eyes, auburn hair and a fresh complexion.
John Bill’s service records reveal that he sailed from Canada on 1st June 1915 and arrived in England on 10th June 1915, was promoted to Lance Corporal on 10th December 1915 and then to Corporal on 1st February 1916. He embarked for France on 20th February 1916 and died of wounds at No. 10 Canadian Field Ambulance, Main Dressing Station, Brandhoek on 22nd May 1916.
National Archives of Canada Reference: RG150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 727 – 64.
The following information has been researched by The Black Country Society:
John Bill was born in Wollaston in 1892, the son of Bradney and Emily Bill. He attended Wollaston CE School and at this time his family were living at 16 High Park Avenue. On leaving school in 1907 he became a grocer’s assistant and then decided to emigrate to Canada. In February 1915 he volunteered at Winnipeg, Manitoba, for the Canadian Expeditionary Force and his papers described him as a farmer. He was posted to the 43rd Battalion (Manitoba Regiment) which joined the Canadian Army on the Western Front. The Canadians were involved in Flanders from 1915 and were again in the front line at Ypres in May 1916.
The Canada War Graves Registers (Circumstances of Casualty) records the following information on Corporal John Dennis Bill, 421025:
“Died of wounds at No. 10 Canadian Field Ambulance.” Buried in Brandhoek Military Cemetery, Vlamertinghe, 2 miles East of Poperinghe, Belgium.
The following information has been researched by Jim Busby:
John Dennis Bill was wounded at Sanctuary Wood, east of Ypres. The battalion war diary noted that the battalion positions were pretty heavily shelled. I found a map that outlines the Canadian trenches there pretty well. The 43rd Battalion spent a lot of time in that area in the Spring of 1916. The Mount Sorrel memorial today is right about where the SP 12 marker is on the map.
Sanctuary Wood 22nd May 1916
43rd Canadian Battalion War Diary:
Ypres Salient 21/5/16 Enemy shelled CUMBERLAND DUGOUTS and new HQs. and trench. Both enemy and our aircraft active. Weather clear and warm. Wind S.E. to S.W. Gas Alert Off. Casualties. Two killed and ten wounded.
22-5-16 Enemy aircraft active all day over our lines also their artillery active all day dropping H.Es. in SANCTUARY WOOD, CUMBERLAND DUGOUTS, HILL STREET & BYDAND. Our parapet blown in in several places trenches 61 and 62. Enemy made direct hit on Dressing Station. Weather. Clear & warm in forenoon, clouding up on afternoon, heavy shower of rain. Wind, N.E. Casualties, four killed and seven wounded, includes two shell shock.
Cap badge, 43rd Bn