In 2009 during some research into my wife’s Family history we found out that a member of my wife Mary’s family had been killed whilst defending the island of Singapore from the Japanese during World War Two.
We decided that we would visit Singapore on the way to Australia so Mary with Brother Rob Hill and me, did so in December just after the Christmas of 2010.
George Hill my father in law belonged to a large Wednesfield family with relatives in the Halesowen area of the Black Country.
Following research we found that George Hill’s brother- Frank Hill was commemorated at Kranji War Cemetery, 22 kilometres north of the city of Singapore, on the north side of Singapore Island overlooking the Straits of Johore.
Following arrival in Singapore we made straight for the cemetery then the grave of Frank Hill.
Frank was a Wednesfield man. He died in Singapore fighting a defensive battle for the island at the tender age of 22.
We found his resting place and the memorial in the neatest war graves cemetery imaginable! It was a beautifully looked after and after some local help we found what we taken to the site.
Whilst we had never met Frank it was nonetheless hugely emotional for the three of us who were gathered at his graveside 69 years on.
Frank Hill was a Gunner in 5 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery and he died defending our democracy on the 10th February 1942. He was a 22 year old man born in Wednesfield and deserves like the many thousands of others who gave their lives for their Country to be remembered.
We felt very proud of this young man who none of us had ever met. We know that his brother George (My father in Law) would have been delighted that we had made the effort to spend a few moments thinking of his brother and the awful time he must have had defending Singapore which of course led to a premature death.
Sadly he will not ever return to Wednesfield, but his soul and his memory most certainly will, as his living family still remember him, his courage and his bravery. His name lives on as George and his wife Mary christened their eldest son Frank in his memory.
It was an emotional time for us in Singapore’s Kranji Cemetery……but it is a visit that will never ever be forgotten.
Rest In Peace Frank…..in the full knowledge that you are saluted by all those people who have reason to owe you and your generation for the sacrifices you made to keep us free and the Country we are today!
On Sunday 13th November 2016 at Wednesfield Garden of Remembrance…Mary and Robert’s elder brother Frank Hill will lay a wreath in commemoration to the Uncle he was named after!