Charles Robert Hill

Charles was born on 8 June 1887 and lived at 25 Galpin Street, Modbury. He was one of eight children of Elizabeth and Samuel Hill who was an agricultural worker. He attended Modbury Infant School from Oct 1889 to Apr 1893.  His sister married John Borne who died of his wounds on 24 Jan 1919. By the end of the War his parents had lost 2 sons and a son-in-law.

Samuel and Elizabeth Hill receiving telegram from the King on their Diamond Wedding anniversary.  Delivered by huntsman Leonard Farley. Samuel and Elizabeth Hill lost 2 sons (Charles and Sidney) at the Battle of Jutland.

In the 1901 census Charles was listed as a ‘Cowboy’ but joined the RN in 1907.  In 1916 married Amelia Moore who was born in Modbury but lived in Plympton. They moved to Fancy Cottages, Modbury.

In 1916 he was a Leading Stoker on HMS Indefatigable, an Invincible Class battlecruiser that was sunk on 31st May 1916 during the Battle of Jutland, the largest naval battle of the war.

HMS Indefatigable

Part of Vice-Admiral Sir David Beatty’s Battlecruiser Fleet, Indefatigable was hit several times in the first minutes of the “Run to the South”, the opening phase of the battlecruiser action. Shells from the German battlecruiser Von der Tann caused an explosion ripping a hole in her hull, and a second explosion hurled large pieces of the ship 200 feet in the air.

Only two of the crew of 1,019 survived. The most likely cause of her loss was an explosion in ‘X’ magazine that blew out her bottom and severed the steering control shafts, followed by the explosion of her forward magazines from the second volley. Von der Tann fired only fifty-two 11 in shells at Indefatigable before she exploded.

Two survivors, Able Seaman Frederick Arthur Gordon Elliott and Leading Signalman Charles Farmer, were rescued by the German torpedo boat S16.

Mount Indefatigable in the Canadian Rockies was named after the battlecruiser in 1917.

Charles was aged 29, and is listed on the Plymouth Naval Memorial. His younger brother Sidney Herbert Hill, who was also serving on HMS Indefatigable, died on the same day.

Born:1 Nov 1887
Where Born:Modbury
Address: 25 Galpin Street. Modbury
Marital Status:Married
OccupationCow boy (1901 census)
Next of Kin:One of eight children of Samuel and Elizabeth Hill. Husband of Amelia Hill
Service:Royal Navy
Service Number:311712
RankLeading Stoker
UnitHMS Indefatigable
Died On:31st May 1916
Where Buried:At Sea
Memorial:Plymouth Naval Memorial
RemarksModbury Infant School Oct 1889 - Apr 1893