b. 08/09/1879 Birmingham. d. 27/07/1916 Delville Wood, France.
Albert Gill (1879-1916) was born at 83 Hospital Street, off Summer Lane, Birmingham on 8th September 1879. His father was Henry Gill, an iron galvaniser, and his mother was Sophia nee Ashton, and they married in 1878 in Birmingham. Albert was one of three brothers and was middle child.
Albert worked for the Post Office for 17 years, initially as a town sorter at Birmingham Head Post Office, and later as a delivery postman in Hockley. He married Rosetta nee Furze in 1910. She was from Torquay in Devon. They went on to have two sons, Albert and Henry. Sadly both children died as infants.
Albert is understood to have served in the Army prior to World War One as he appears to have been a reservist in 1914 and went to France in November 1914 to join the 1st Battalion. Not much is known of his early service in the war, prior to his VC action on 27th July 1916 at Delville Wood, France.
On 27th July 1916 at Delville Wood, France, the enemy made a very strong counterattack on the right flank of the battalion and rushed the bombing post after killing all the company bombers. Sergeant Gill rallied the remnants of his platoon, none of whom were skilled bombers, and reorganised his defences. Soon afterwards the enemy nearly surrounded his men and started sniping at about 20 yards range. Although it was almost certain death, Sergeant Gill stood boldly up in order to direct the fire of his men. He was killed almost at once, but his gallant action held up the enemy advance.
Albert’s body was recovered and he was buried in Delville Wood Cemetery, France. The VC was presented to Rosetta by King George V at Buckingham Palace on 29th November 1916. In addition to the VC, he was awarded the 1914 Star, British War Medal 1914-20 and Victory Medal 1914-19. The medals were sold at Sotheby’s to Spink’s on 19th July 1965 for £800. They were later owned by A Strutt of the Military Historical Society. On 29th March 2000 they were sold by Dix Noonan Webb for £69,000 and purchased by Michael Ashcroft. Albert’s Army Temperance Association Medal was also included in the sale. They are now displayed in the Ashcroft Gallery, Imperial War Museum, London.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: LORD ASHCROFT GALLERY, IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM.
BURIAL PLACE: DELVILLE WOOD CEMETERY, THE SOMME, FRANCE.
Albert Gill VC's medals on display at the Lord Ashcroft Gallery, Imperial War Museum, London (August 2014).
Cemetery Plan courtesy of Kevin Brazier
PLOT IV, ROW C, GRAVE 3
Hockley Postal Sorting Office, Birmingham
Hall of Memory, Birmingham (Feb 2016)