Fallen soldier honoured at exhibition of his life
- Credit: Archant
The village of Drinkstone is remembering another of its fallen First World War soldiers with a special exhibition.
Corporal James Gill, 19, was serving with the 1st Battalion Suffolk Regiment when he was wounded attacking German trenches during the Battle of Loos in northern France. He was evacuated to a hospital in St Omer, but died from his wounds on October 6, 1915.
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of his death, an exhibition charting his life and military service has been compiled by Robin Sharp on behalf of the Drinkstone War Memorial Institute (Village Hall).
The free exhibition launched at All Saints Church in Drinkstone on Monday and will be there until at least this Monday when it will move to the village hall. It is running until November 11, Remembrance Day.
Mr Sharp said: “The exhibition is part of Drinkstone’s dedicated remembrance of the 15 men from the village who lost their lives during the First World War.
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“We are focusing on each man in turn, as we reach the centenary of their deaths – James Gill is the third Drinkstone man to be commemorated in this way.
“We feel that this is a fitting way to mark the impact that their loss had on the village, to honour their lives and keep the solemn pledge – ‘we will remember them’.”
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Cpl Gill was born on November 9, 1895, in Bury St Edmunds, the eldest of seven children of James and Agnes (née Sheppard) Gill.
James Gill senior was a career soldier of more than 22 years with the Suffolk Regiment. Consequently, Cpl Gill moved home several times in his early years, attending schools in Ipswich, Bury and finally Drinkstone in 1907. This was a return ‘home’ for the Gills, as James Gill senior had been born in the village, as had his father and his grandfather.
Cpl Gill joined the 2nd Battalion Suffolk Regiment in May 1913. He is buried in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery, Longuenesse (St Omer) Souvenir Cemetery.
Mr Sharp, vice chairman of the Drinkstone War Memorial Institute, added: “We’re proud to be able to remember and honour James Gill and show that his life and sacrifice have not been forgotten by this generation of Drinkstonians. We were delighted to make contact with some of his descendants in the United States and Canada, one of whom provided us with our only photograph of James, aged five, pictured with his mother and two siblings, which is included in the exhibition.
“The stories of each man are, however, not ‘complete’ and we’d be delighted to receive any further information about James Gill, or of the other 14 men, to help us to celebrate their lives.”