Frederick George Hill
16 January 1920 - 10 March 2012
Frederick George Hill was born on the 16 January 1920 at 3 Tangiers Cottages, Taunton, the first child of George Frederick Hill (b1877 – d1941) and Beatrice Kate Hill (b1881 – d1968) who were cousins. He was baptised on 3 April 1920 at St Mary Magdalene Church, Taunton. Older half brother Robert John (Bob) was born in 1908, and half sister Cecilia Beatrice (Cis) in 1912. Younger sister Dorothy Jane was born in 1923. There were three other siblings who died in infancy: Kathleen May (b1921 - d1925) aged 4 years; Leslie James (b1925 - d1926) aged 16 months; and Stanley Norman (b1926 - d1926) aged only 12 days.
Fred’s father George was born in 1877 in Bridgwater, the only son of Robert Hill (b1844 – d1899) and Jane Stone (b1843 – d??). He had five sisters: Florence Jane (b1866 - d1894), Ada Eliza (b1869 - d1926), Clara Louise (b1873 - d???), Beatrice Ellen (b1875 - d1961) and Agnes Maud Mary (b1880 - d1951). Robert Hill was born in Taunton and worked as a general labourer.
George Hill left school at 13 to become an errand boy, and worked as a general labourer before joining Taunton Gas Company where he spent 21 years. During the First World War, as a corporal in the Royal Army Medical Corps, he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for bravery while in charge of a stretcher in France. He also held the Mons Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. He died after a long illness on 15 January 1941 while Fred was fighting in Greece.
Fred’s mother Beatrice was born in 1881 at 3 Tangiers Cottages, Taunton, the only daughter of James Hill (b1848 – d1920) and Jane Parkhouse (b1848 – d1914). She had a brother Frederick George born in 1871. James Hill was born in Taunton and worked as a bargeman and gas stoker.
Beatrice was still living at home with her parents in 1901 and worked as a dressmaker.
Key: Tangier Cottages; St John's School; 57 Wood Street
Fred’s childhood was spent initially at 3 Tangiers Cottages. This was a two up, two down back-to-back terraced house with no running water or sanitation. Water had to be drawn from a standpipe outside a house further down the terrace, the toilets were in a communal block, and having a bath necessitated a trip to the public bathhouse. At the age of six he went to St John's School which was a short distance from the cottage.
The growing family moved to 57 Wood Street, Taunton in about 1930. This was a larger three bedroom mid terraced house which had running water and an outside toilet, but no bathroom. Bathing still required a trip to the public bathhouse. Beatrice was to spend the rest of her life here, together with her daughter Cis.
Fred left school and worked in the packing department of Chapman’s department store in Taunton where he initially met Daisy. He was called up in April 1940 to fight in the Second World War as a Gunner in the Royal Artillery, attached to the Anti Aircraft Battery, and was sent first to Egypt and then to Greece where he was captured by the enemy forces, posted missing in action on 28 April 1941. He spent days being transported in cattle trucks with hundreds of other prisoners in appalling conditions with all suffering dysentery and with no room to move. He was taken at first to Yugoslavia where he worked on roads and then to Austria to work on a farm. He remained a prisoner until the war ended.
After being de-mobbed he worked for four years as an apprentice electrician at Taunton Gas Company. Fred and Daisy married on 5 July 1948 at St James Church, Teignmouth, Devon, and honeymooned in Polperro, Cornwall. They lived with Fred's mother and sister at 57 Wood Street, Taunton for two years.
They then moved in with Daisy's parents who had bought a house in Sunnylands Avenue, Southbourne, Bournemouth. In 1951 Fred obtained employment at Wellworthy Engineering in Lymington, Hants initially as a machine operator in the piston production department at Ampress Works and then as a machine setter/operator, setting up machines for other workers as well as operating machines himself. He had a thirteen mile cycle ride between Southbourne and Lymington morning and evening which he kept up for seven years.
Fred and Daisy moved from Daisy's parents house to a bed-sit in Southbourne, then a flat in Walkford, and then another bed-sit in Southbourne where their first child, Kevin was born in 1954. Fred and Daisy stayed in the bedsit until Daisy was expecting their second child. Daisy's father had built a bungalow at Harbour Road, Southbourne and Fred, Daisy and Kevin moved in with them. Fred and Daisy's second child, Helen was born in 1956.
In 1958, Daisy's father helped them purchase a bungalow on a new estate in New Milton, Hampshire which was closer to Fred's work in Lymington but still involved a six mile cycle ride each way. Their third child, Liz was born in 1959.
The two bedroom bungalow soon became too small for two adults and three growing children, and with the help of Daisy's mother, they bought a three bedroom house on a new estate at Kenilworth Close, New Milton.
Fred has always been a keen gardener, growing plants and shrubs as well as vegetables, particularly when he lived at Beechwood Avenue. The large rear garden allowed him to grow numerous vegetable plants as well as soft fruits.
Fred celebrated 25 years at Wellworthy in 1976 but began to suffer from epilepsy and was forced to take early retirement in 1980.
Fred and Daisy celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1998 on the fifth of July with a small party arranged by Helen and Elizabeth and attended by Daisy's brothers and their wives.
On 16 January 2010 Fred reached a significant milestone when he celebrated his 90th birthday. A small party was organised attended by his children and grandchildren.
Despite a few health scares during the preceding year, Fred celebrated his 91st bithday on 16 January 2011.
Fred's health continued to deteriorate through 2011, and he required more and more help with day-to-day tasks. He celebrated his 92nd birthday on 16 January 2012 but his health declined quite rapidly and he died on Saturday 10 March 2012.
A service of thanksgiving was held at Ashley Baptist Church on 22 March 2012, followed by a private cremation at Bournemouth Crematorium. Fred's ashes were later scattered at Great Ballard Lake, just as Daisy's had been six years earlier. A memorial plaque was later added to Daisy's bench as a lasting reminder of both of their lives.
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