147518 Sergeant William Gill.

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178 Tunneling Company, Royal Engineers. Formerly 13779, Sergeant, East Lancashire Regiment.

Awarded the Military Medal in the London Gazette of 14 December 1916.

Gill was a native of Burnley, Lancashire.

147518 Sergeant William Gill, M.M., served during the Great War on the Western Front with the East Lancashire Regiment from 2 June 1915. Sergeant Gill transferred at some point in late 1915 to the Royal Engineers and moved to the 107 Tunnelling Company. On returning to the front in the summer of 1916, he joined the 178 Tunnelling Company, Royal Engineers. At this time they were at the Fricourt sector of the Somme, and on the 1st Day of the Battle of the Somme, ''At 6.25am the intensive bombardment of the enemy's front system was begun, and between 7.15 and 7.25am in order to mislead the enemy, gas was released from the centre of the corps front from which no assault was at first to be delivered. At 7.22am a hurricane bombardment by Stokes mortars on the whole front of attack took place. At 7.26am smoke discharges were launched by 4 Mortar Company, 5 Battalion, Special Brigade R.E., in order to create barrages to screen the inner flanks of the attacking wings of the 7th and 21st Divisions, also to form a cloud on the German support line opposite the 7th Division, to mask the direct assault. At 7.28am three mines of 25,000lbs., 15,000lbs. and 9,000lbs., placed by the 178 Tunnelling Company R.E., were fired under the German line opposite the salient known as "The Tambour", facing Fricourt, against which no assault was to be made. The purpose of the mines was to distract the enemy's attention and form craters which block enfilade fire against the 21st Division from the northern face of "The German Tambour". Bulgar Point, a heavily wired strongpoint jutting out into No Man's Land (south of the south-east corner of Mametz) was completely destroyed by a 2,000lbs. mine, and a sap west of it by one of 200lbs. Four small mines of 500lbs. each were also exploded under the German line south of Hidden Wood, where much mining had already taken place.'' As the advance progressed in July 1916, the 178 Tunnelling Company moved up to try to mine enemy positions in the High Wood area, in particular on 3 September, the 1st Battalion, Royal Highlanders (Black Watch) attacking the German Front line in High Wood, had the help of blazing oil drums, "pipe-pushers", and flame throwers, the objective being too close for artillery bombardment; in addition, a mine was exploded (178 Tunnelling Company R.E. used a charge of 3,000lbs. of ammonal) under the German strongpoint at the eastern corner of High Wood 30 seconds before zero hour. The mine crater was seized by the right company of the Black Watch, consolidation began with the assistance of a section of the 23 Field Company R.E., and bombers worked some distance westward along the German front trench. Unfortunately the "pipe-pushers" in the wood had blown back, and a Stokes mortar, firing short, had ignited the oil drums prematurely, so that considerable confusion prevailed when the other companies of the Black Watch began to advance. The date of Gill's award would suggest it was for bravery in action during the battles of the Somme.

The Burnley Express of 3 June 1916 reported on Gill having been wounded in France and had been at Whalley Military Hospital suffering from a shrapnel wound to the right arm since 18 March, the report also shows that prior to the war Gill had lived at 9, Duke Street, Burnley, Lancashire and was an experienced miner working at Rowley Pit. He had served throughout the Boer War with the East Lancashire Regiment.

A letter from a J.J. Dunne of the 107 Tunnelling Company to Sergeant Gill was also published.

3292 Sergeant William Gill served with the East Lancashire Regiment, Mounted Infantry Company during the Boer War and was awarded the Queen's South Africa Medal with bars for Cape Colony, Johannesburg and Driefontein and King's South Africa Medal with the bars South Africa 1901 and South Africa 1902.