LIEUTENANT WILLIAM ERNEST HILL
8TH AUGUST 1918 AGE 24
BURIED: BEACON CEMETERY,, SAILLY LAURETTE, FRANCE
William Hill was the only son of Peter Hill, a grocery branch manager from Tyldesley in Lancashire, and his wife Mary Ellen. A volunteer, he joined up as a private and went to France in November 1915. A year later he received a commission in the 9th Battalion Royal Fusiliers. He was killed on 8 August 1918 in the capture of the village of Sailly-Laurette on the opening day of the Battle of Amiens.
His father chose his inscription. It is based on a Hindu mantra from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, a treatise on the soul composed sometime around the year 700 BC.
Lead us from the unreal to the real.
Lead us from the darkness to the light.
Lead us from death to immortality.
It is a very unusual inscription from a very unusual source. The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad does not appear to have been well known in Britain. It had been translated into English in 1805 but I can't see that either the book or the mantra were widely known so it would be interesting to know how Mr and Mrs Hill came across it.