WW1 Angelo William Thomas Gill 30795
Angelo William Thomas Gill was born on 18 December 1896 in Canberra, son of T R W and Edith Gill later living in Ascot Avenue, Remuera, Auckland. Angelo attended St John’s College from 1911-12, and King’s College from 1913-14.
He was the Captain of the Otahuhu Football Club. He won several medals for shooting and was part of the 3rd Auckland Mounted Rifles territorials. He is mentioned in New Zealand at the Front (a magazine written and published and illustrated in France by men of the New Zealand Division) 1917 issue, page 141.
He enlisted on 22 August 1916 and is described as having a fresh complexion, blue eyes, brown hair and was 5ft 7inches tall. At the time of his enlistment, he was sheep farming with his father.
He embarked on the vessel Port Lyttleton from Wellington on 7 December 1916 and disembarked in Plymouth, Devon on the, England, on 18 February 1917. He had been promoted to Lance-Corporal in September 1916 but when in Sling Camp, he reverted to the rank of Private in the 20th Reinforcements, Auckland Infantry Battalion, A Company with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force.
On 14 March 1917, Angelo was sent overseas to Etaples in France. The Étaples Army Base Camp, the largest of its kind ever established overseas by the British, for British, Canadian, Scottish and Australasian forces. With its vast conglomeration of soldiers training for battle, of the wounded, of prisoners, and of those simply waiting to go to the front, Étaples could appear a dark place.
Whilst in Etaples, Angelo joined the 2nd Battalion, Auckland Infantry Regiment, and went in the field, 2 June 1917, to prepare for the battle for Messines. Advance began very early on the morning of the 7 June 1917, the day Angelo was reported missing.
The following is a report from Private Bennett (Service number 28656) about that day:
Just after the advance started on the morning of the 7 June , my section was moving forward in single file, I was either the 2nd or 3rd behind Gill. A shell landed to the right of the Section – 3 men – Dally, Spierio and Gill were knocked down. The advance was continued, and I did not see what injuries the three men sustained. I learned afterward that Dally was slightly wounded and Spierio lost a leg. Dally has since rejoined the company and again been wounded.
Also a report from Sb Wilson A W (5/526 [5/527] states I was in charge of the half Platoon to which Pt Gill belonged. He was with the platoon when we started to advance but was missing when we reached our objective. – Moulin de l’Hospice 1 1/2 hours afterwards. I have not seen him since.
A Court of Enquiry was held and concluded that Angelo was missing, wounded, and believed killed in action on 7 June 1917. He was 20 years old. Angelo was awarded the British war medal and victory medal. His memorial is in La Plus Douve Farm Cemetery, Comines-Warneton, Hainaut, Belgium, Row IV. E. 5.