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Auction: 24001 - Orders, Decorations and Medals
Lot: 77

(x) Seven: Master-at-Arms W. C. Hillier, Royal Navy

East and West Africa 1887-1900, 1 clasp, Gambia 1894 (W. Hillier, A.B., H.M.S. Raleigh.); Africa General Service 1902-56, 1 clasp, Somaliland 1908-10 (151364 W. G. Hillier Sh.Cpl.1CL, H.M.S. Philomel.); 1914-15 Star (151364, W. C. Hillier, M.A.A., R.N.); British War and Victory Medals (151364 W. C. Hillier. M.A.A. R.N.); Royal Navy L.S. & G.C., E.VII.R. (151364 W. C. Hillier, Sh.Corpl. 1 CL, H.M.S. Ganges.); Messina Earthquake 1908, very fine (7)

William Charles Hillier was born on 27 July 1894 at Weymouth, Dorset. He enlisted into the Royal Navy on 27 July 1892 as a Boy 2nd Class, having been an Errand Boy and a Bank Messenger. He saw service on Raleigh from 28 July 1891 until 23 February 1895 leaving that ship with the rank of Able Seaman. He saw time on Victory, Excellent, Empress of India and Jupiter rising through the ranks eventually becoming Petty Officer First Class on 6 March 1899 whilst aboard Camperdown. He served on Philomel between 31 January 1908 - 25 July 1909 and earned the Africa General Service Medal for service in Somaliland as well as the Messina Earthquake medal. He is promoted to Master at Arms from 12 September 1911 whilst on Neptune on which ship he remains for the whole of his Great War service. Hillier completed his service on 2 May 1920 and died on 11 February 1943.


Magpie, Raleigh and Widgeon under the command of Rear-Admiral Frederick Bedford provided men for an incursion against slavery into the Gambia. The party were split into two columns, one consisting of 225 bluejackets (naval personnel) from all three ships, was led by Captain Edward Harpur Gamble of the Raleigh. This main column was ambushed at madini Creek on 23 February 1894. Eighteen men were killed, including two officers from the Raleigh, First Lieutenant William Arnold RN and Lieutenant Francis Hervey of the Marines. A a total of 46 Officers and men were wounded, including Gamble. Shortly afterward British forces succeeded in bringing slavery to an end in the region.

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