Gunner W.H.P. Hilbourn



UNIT: Royal Garrison Artillery

NUMBER: 66475

STATUS: Killed in Action

DATE OF DEATH: 4th November 1916

CEMETERY OR MEMORIAL: Courcelles-au-Bois Communal Cemetery Extension, France

AGE: 42

William's parents were called Henry Giles and Anne Culverwell Hilbourn and according to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records they lived in Street in Somerset. William was born in Street so it is not clear whether William moved to Northallerton alone, or with his family. His wife was called Mabel Elsie but she had clearly re-married after his death as she is recorded as Mabel Elsie Taylor (formerly Hilbourn) of "Ivythorne" 18 Mornington Road, Norwich, by the CWGC.

There also appears to be some confusion over the spelling of his surname. It is variously spelt on the memorial and in different records as "Hilbourn", Hilborne" and "Hilbourne". The first spelling is used on the Northallerton Memorial and the second on his headstone in France.

When War broke out, William was working as a warder at the Northallerton Prison. He asked for permission to enlist, but was refused by the Prison Commissioners. He therefore joined the local Volunteer Training Corps and rose to the rank of Sergeant. He was subsequently given permission to enlist in the Army and he became a gunner in the RGA. Before coming to Northallerton he had previously served in the Army in the Somerset Light Infantry.

He was killed, aged 42, just as the Battle of the Somme was drawing to a close.