Soldier Spotlight: Sergeant Joseph Hill

Image: Notes from Joseph’s military service file, with details about having been buried by a shell explosion (Library & Archives Canada)

Regimental Number: 446638
Rank: Sergeant
Branch: 49th Battalion; Canadian Military Police

*Note: Joseph’s obituary indicates that he was born in London, England. The service file linked to his Veterans Death Card states that he was born in Toronto, Ontario.

Joseph was born on December 18, 1878. He first enlisted in the Canadian Army in May of 1915. After a heavy attack on his regiment in June of 1916, Joseph began to suffer from tremors, twitches, nightmares, and loss of speech. He was buried by a shell explosion on August 1, 1916, which caused the condition to worsen. Joseph spent a great deal of time in English hospitals throughout 1916 and 1917 as a result of his shell shock. On August 8, 1917, he was discharged, having been found medically unfit. He had been granted permission to marry Mary Margaret Bowles in March of 1917; it is possible they met while Joseph was in hospital.

Joseph once again enlisted in September of 1917 and served with the Canadian Military Police until March of 1919.

In 1922, Joseph was living in High River, according to a present address card in his service file. However, he and his family eventually settled in Hythe. Joseph died in the Beaverlodge Hospital on March 18, 1956 and was buried in the Hythe Cemetery.

*View page 83 of Joseph’s service file for more detailed information about Joseph’s experiences in the military.

Sources: Cemetery Records; see HT March 30, 1956

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.