Reginald A. Gill, PLY/732

The following information has been reproduced by kind permission of Maj(R) Taff Edwards MBE..
Reginald Arthur Gill, Private PLY/732, 'A' Company Plymouth Btn, was born in Tirphil c1895.

I cannot (yet) find when he enlisted, but he is listed as having deployed with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force on 31st May 1915. As a member of the Plymouth Battalion he would have arrived in Gallipoli in July that year, part of the 3rd Royal Naval Brigade. He succumbed to Dysentry in October 1915 and was hospitalized (record not yet found), but rejoined his battalion in the December.

Reggie took part in the Battle of Arras and following this was reported missing. The CWGC list him as having died on Armistice Day, and being buried in NIEDERZWEHREN Cemetery, Cassel (or Kassel) (Grave III.F.9). To me this was strange as Allied forces were nowhere near Cassel in 1918, so I checked against the ICRC (Red Cross) database, and there was Reginald.

He was taken prisoner on 28th April, at Arras, suffering wounds to his left arm and "loin" (his side). In June 1917 he was in the hospital of the PoW camp at Langensalza, and his Next of Kin address was listed as his 'mother', 5 Medart Street, Cross Keys.

On 20th June 1917 he was moved from the "Kr.Gef.Laz" (probably Kriegs Gefangenen Lazarett - Prisoner of War Hospital) Langensalza to Darmstadt PoW camp (Hesse district).

Then on 24th August that year he was moved again, this time to Giessen PoW camp (I think there were hospital facilities for prisoners here, as well), and wounds to his forearm and side were again mentioned.. His NoK this time was listed as 'Mrs Brooks, 5 Medart Street, Cross Keys'. (Giessen was also in the Hesse district).

Reggie remained in this camp until the 27th June 1918 when he was moved to another camp in Hesse district - Mainz.

After this, three more documents were produced regarding Reginald. Two were provided by the German Information Office to the ICRC - they were both 'Totenliste' (Death List):
The first (dated 9 Dec 1918) informed the ICRC that 21 year old Reginald Gill, born and resident in Cross Keys, South Wales, died on 10th November 1918 in the hospital at Mainz.
The second (dated 10 Jan 1919) informed the ICRC that Reginald had died from "Flu and Pneumonia".
The third was the ICRC 'Death Certificate', which would have been sent to England, notifying that Reginald Gill, born 9th December 1896 and resident in Cross Keys, had died in the 'PoW Fortress Hospital, Mainz' on 10/11/1918. It also listed his occupation as 'Bergmann' - Miner, but his NoK was listed as Frederick Gill, Cross Keys, Monmouth.

Frederick was actually Frederick Brooks - Reginald's father had died in 1902 and his mother had remarried. This record was dated 29/11/1918, so cause of death would not have been known at that time, and the fact that the cause was given in 1919 may have been following a request for such from the family, via the British Red Cross, to Geneva and thence to Germany. [ICRC ref's: PA11114, PA11756, PA14386, PA 27524, PA 42344, PA 42429]

[Bodies of Allied servicemen who died in various PoW camps in Germany, including those buried in the Hesse District, were moved and reinterred in the Niederzwheren Cemetery. Reginald was possibly originally buried in the Ohdruf PoW Cemetery, Theringia - the same District as Mainz].

He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, Victory and British War medals (I C 5049/1918).
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