Rolls of Honour: Eccleshill, Park and St Luke’s; Vis en Artois Memorial
Regiment: Duke of Wellington’s
Victor Hillam was baptised at St Stephen’s Church, West Bowling on the 6th July 1898 the son of butcher Benjamin Hillam and Pollie, nee Heaton.By 1901 the family were still living in West Bowling at 117 Bismarck Street and Benjamin was now working as a time keeper in a worsted mill. They had three children, Gladys, Victor and Lottie, who died at a few months old. In 1911 the family had moved to Eccleshill living at 66 Mount Avenue and Victor’s mother appears to have changed her name to Mary Ellen. Benjamin was
working as a printer’s assistant and Victor was a part timer, school in the morning and then working as a messenger during the afternoon.When Victor enlisted on his 18th birthday he was working as a hairdresser’s apprentice and living at 40 Institute Road. He became Private 25209 in the 9th Battalion of the Duke of Wellington (West Riding Regiment) on the 19th February 1917. At the beginning of July 1917 Victor arrived at the front and was engaged in the Third Battle of
Ypres or Passchendaele from the 31st July to 19th November. Terrible weather soon bogged it down and the bad weather in October led to the battlefield becoming an impossible quagmire. Victor contracted pneumonia and was hospitalised also suffering from shell shock. He returned to the front and lost his life, killed in action on the 26th August 1918, the first day of the Battle of the Scarpe, also known as the Second Battle of the Somme. He was 20 years of age.
He is remembered at the Vis-en-Artois Memorial which bears the names of over 9000 men who fell in the period from 8th of August 1918 to the date of the Armistice in the Advance to Victory in Picardy and Artois and who have no known grave. Victor left his effects to his mother Mary Ellen who received £9.19.3d on the 3rd of February 1919 and a War Gratuity of £6.10s on the 5th of December 1919.
. Researched and written by Jean Britteon, to whom many thanks