Herbert Gill, brother of Stanley, is the first Royal Navy serviceman that I will profile in this series. Four years older than his brother, he first joined the Navy in 1911 at the age of 16 for a 12-year commitment, first at the training establishment HMS Ganges as Boy 2nd Class. He worked his way through the ranks in his first three years through Boy 1st Class, Ordinary Seaman, then by the autumn of of 1914, Able Seaman at which time he was serving on the HMS Roxburgh. He would have been still serving on Roxburgh in June 1915 when she was struck and severely damaged by a torpedo from a German submarine.
Herbert spent late 1915 and early 1916 at Vivid I, a seamanship, signalling and telegraphy School in Devonport. The rest of the war he was alternately at training and on HMS Colossus and HMS Hindustan.
Herbert was serving on the Hindustan was part of the Zeebrugge and Osten raids of April 23, 1918. The operation was intended to block the access of German shipping and submarines in and out of both ports. German submarines, torpedo boats and ships were based at the inland docks in Bruges and were using the Bruges shipping canal to access the English Channel via the two sea entrances at Zeebrugge and Ostend. The raids were considered successful, and several gallantry awards were presented as a result, including eight men being awarded with the Victoria Cross.
Herbert served with the Royal Navy until January 1925.
From there, I am not certain about the rest of Herbert’s life. In my research, I have found at least three different Herbert Gills living in Edmonton all born around the same time between 1925 and 1950, and I haven’t found any conclusive enough evidence to identify any of them as this Herbert Gill.
Next week, another Gill–Ezekiel.
In the meantime, all the best to you for a lovely Christmas if that is your tradition! I will have a special post on the Facebook page on Monday, so please make sure that you follow me there as well.