Private Michael John George Hill, Depot Battalion

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Posted on 3 May 2021

Michael Hill, known as “Mick”, was born in Wangaratta, Victoria, in December 1894 to Philip and Catherine Hill.

He grew up in Rutherglen, where he attended the local convent school, and went on to work as a farm labourer in the district. He was a keen sportsman, and won several local bicycle races, as well as being known as a good oarsman in rowing regattas.

Mick Hill tried to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force in July 1915, during a two-week long recruitment drive in the district. After failing the medical examination, he went straight to Wangaratta to try enlisting again, and this time was accepted for service.

He went into Seymour Camp to begin his training in August 1915.  A little under three weeks after entering camp, Private Hill became sick and was sent to the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne. His condition worsened, and he was diagnosed with cerebro-spinal meningitis. On 6 October 1915 at 7.45 in the morning he died in hospital.

Private Hill’s body was returned to his family in Rutherglen the following day, and he was buried in the Carlyle Cemetery.

Mick Hill’s younger brother Philip had enlisted in the AIF in July 1915. Philip was posted to the 14th Battalion and eventually sent to fight on the Western Front. One year and ten days after the death of his older brother, Private Philip Hill was killed in action while fighting in Belgium.

Both of the Hill boys are commemorated on the stone at Mick Hill’s gravesite in Rutherglen. Their family chose the epitaph “They gave their life their all, in response to their country’s call”.

Mick Hill was 20 years old, Philip was 18.

Meleah Hampton, Historian, Military History Section