Able Seaman Arthur Leslie Ryland Hill, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, was killed in action on 19th February 1918 when his ship, the transport liner SS Philadelphian, was sunk by torpedoes from German submarine U-82 whilst 47 miles from the Lizard peninsula, Cornwall. The ship had left New York on 11th February and Able Seaman Hill was one of four crew members to lose his life, along with an entire cargo of horses destined for the Romsey Remount Depot, Hampshire.
Born in Handsworth on 18th May 1897, Arthur Leslie Ryland Hill was baptised at St Mary’s Church, Handsworth on 10th June 1897. He was the second of four children (three sons, one daughter) of parents Arnold William (an electro-plate manufacturer whose business was in Bissell Street, Birmingham) and Flora (née Davies) who had married in 1895.
Arthur’s older brother, Arnold Gilbert Hill (1895-1987) served in the First and Second World Wars.
By 1904, when the third child, Guy Bertram Hill (1904-1986), was born, the family had moved from Handsworth to “Trescoe”, Hampton-in-Arden, where they seem to have remained until at least 1928. Arnold and Flora had moved to Minehead, Somerset by 1939.
Arthur Hill became a clerk and was mobilised with the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve on 27th March 1916, although his service record notes that he was unable to swim. Able Seaman Hill was posthumously Mentioned in Despatches in the London Gazette, 7th June 1918.
Having no known grave, he is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial. He is also commemorated locally on Hampton-in-Arden War Memorial.
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