Robert James Bradley HILLIER

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HILLIER , Robert James Bradley

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 16 June 1915, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: 10th Infantry Battalion
Born: Milang, South Australia , 30 May 1894
Home Town: Adelaide, South Australia
Schooling: Norwood and Adelaide High School
Occupation: Clerk
Died: Killed In Action, Pozieres, France , 25 July 1916, aged 22 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Memorials: Adelaide High School Honour Board, Adelaide National War Memorial, Moonta Mines Public School Roll of Honour WW1, Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Australian National Memorial - France), Warooka Memorial Hall Honour Roll, Warooka and District WW1 Honour Board
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World War 1 Service

16 Jun 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, SN Officer, Adelaide, South Australia
21 Sep 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 27th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières
21 Sep 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 27th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Star of England, Adelaide
25 Jul 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 10th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières

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Biography contributed by Saint Ignatius' College

Robert James Bradley Hillier was born on the 30th of May 1894 in Milang, South Australia. He was the son of Robert Percy Hillier and Mab Kathleen Taheny. Robert was the eldest child.

Robert was a Roman Catholic and when he was old enough, attended Norwood and Adelaide High School. After completing his education at school, he became a clerk, working in an office. He later moved to 89 Hurtle Square, Adelaide. Robert had no prior military experience listed on his service record.

Robert enlisted in Adelaide when he was only 20 years old. The motive for Robert enlisting would have been patriotism. Having the desire to fight and represent his country. He embarked in Adelaide on the 21st of September 1915 on board the HMAT Star of England.  Robert was listed as a lieutenant which means he had leadership skills and qualities. When Robert enlisted, he was placed in the 27th battalion, which was the 4th reinforcement. Robert trained in Egypt with the 27th battalion for 2 months after landing. When the 2 months of training was completed, he was transferred to the 10th battalion. The 10th battalion came from Gallipoli and was comprised of mainly South Australian men. From Egypt, Robert and the 10th battalion sailed to France and Belgium, which is also known as the Western Front.  The 10th battalion's first key action after Gallipoli was in Pozieres, Somme Valley, France in July 1916.

Tragically, Robert was killed in action in the battle of Pozieres on the 25th of July 1916. On the same day Robert was killed there were 58 others killed, 246 wounded and 46 missing. A total of 250 causalities from one day just from the 10th battalion. Robert was killed alongside 410 other Australian men on the 25th of July. The battle of Pozieres was one of the deadliest battles in history, with over 23,000 Australian casualties and 6,800 Australian soldiers killed. Robert’s body was not found after the war, but he is one of 10,885 names listed on the Australian National Memorial in Villiers-Bretonneux, France. This memorial commemorates Australian service men who were killed in action and have no known grave. The following exert comes from the death notices from the newspaper, “Lieutenant, 78th Battalion H Company; eldest son of Robert Percy and the late M.A Hillier; born in Milang; student at Adelaide High School; killed in action 25 July 1916, France; aged 22.” 

As Robert was listed in both the 27th and 10th Battalion as a lieutenant, he would have shown skills such as leadership, communication, confidence and resilience. As a lieutenant, you have to lead a platoon of 30 men, so there would have to be leadership skills and qualities in lieutenants listed. He would have also had to have communication skills to communicate the plan to his men and have confidence and the plan that he had devised. He would have had to have resilience as when his plan didn’t work, he had to bounce back and think on his feet to come up with a new plan.

Whilst Robert was in the military forces, he received 3 participation medals. The 1914/15 Star, The British War Medal and The Victory Medal. The 1914/15 Star was awarded to service men who enlisted to join the forces in the years 1914 and 1915. The British War Medal was a campaign medal of the UK which was awarded to service men if British and Imperial Forces for service in World War One. The Victory Medal, which is also known as the Inter Allied Victor Medal, is a bronze medal that was awarded to all who received the 1914 and 1915 Star with certain exceptions to those who received the British War Medal.

Robert displayed the ANZAC spirit throughout his time serving his country in the war.  Robert was a committed and proud troop who was willing to fight for his country. Throughout Roberts time in the war he was brave and courageous, he fought in one of the deadliest battles in history.  He showed great leadership skills and lead with courage, resilience and pride. He paid the ultimate sacrifice and risked his own life for the benefit and protection of Australian citizens and the British empire.

 

References 

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State Library of South Australia n.d., State Library of South Australia, accessed 15 March 2019, <http://www.catalog.slsa.sa.gov.au/search/X?SEARCH=(Robert%20James%20Bradley%20Hillier)&searchscope=1&SORT=D>.

Trove n.d., Advanced Search-Robert James Bradley Hillier, accessed 15 March 2019, <https://trove.nla.gov.au/?q&adv=y>.

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Virtual War Memorial n.d., Pozieres, accessed 15 March 2019, <https://vwma.org.au/explore/campaigns/5>.

World War I Pictorial Honour of South Australians 2013, accessed 15 March 2019, <http://ww1sa.gravesecrets.net/hi.html>.

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