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Private Jesse Hill

Private Jesse Hill

Jesse Hill lived with his wife, Margaret and their two children, Harold and Jesse, at 13 Peel Street, Wolverhampton. Before the war Jesse was a fitter and turner, working in the local cycle trade.

During the First World War, he served with the 2nd Battalion of the South Wales Borderers. He wrote regular letters and postcards home to his wife and family, which have been deposited with Wolverhampton City Archives. In his letters, he described the conditions in France and in the trenches. For example, on 1 January 1916, he wrote: “how did you enjoy your Xmas. I expect you enjoy it a little better than I enjoyed mine for I was on Guard on Xmas Day.”

On 15 January 1917, he had “only just come out of the trenches and I can tell you weather his [sic] terrible snowing and freezing very hard.”

Jessie tried to reassure his wife in his letters. For instance, in December 1916 he wrote: “Dear Maggie I expect I shall go up line shortly but don’t trouble [I] shall be alright.”

Unfortunately, Jesse was killed in action on 29 January 1917. Sergeant J. Noble wrote on 4 Feb 1917 that he was “one of my most reliable men, always cheerful under adverse circumstances and indeed a great credit to me”. Margaret (Jesse’s wife) although clearly upset, responded, saying that “it is one consolation to think he died for his King and Country, let all those in his Platoon know that I desire to thank them for their sympathy.”