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Gunner Patrick Hamill, Royal Field Artillery
Gunner Patrick Hamill
3 photographs of Patrick Hamill stationed in India. 1 photograph of him being treated in Fazakerley Hospital, Liverpool.
My uncle Paddy Hamill was born in Dungannon 1887. He joined the Royal Field Artillery in 1911 and was appointed to the 2nd Battery, XIII Brigade in India first in Kirkee and then in Bangalore. He enjoyed life in the RFA with his knowledge of horses which was the backbone of the regiment. The routine of peacetime in Bangalore was shattered by the outbreak of WW1. On the 31 August the whole of the XIIIth Brigade in the Royal Field Artillery was ordered to mobilise. On 31 October at 6am they marched to the front to Gorre. Paddy's commanding officer Major PJ Paterson spent his leisure hours inventing bits of equipment and according to the brigade diaries he invented a periscope which was made by his fitter and a 'bomb gun' for the infantry to use in the trenches. I have always wondered if my uncle was the 'fitter' as he had the training and skills to make the equipment. On the 1 December 1914 there was great excitement as a visit from King George was expected. The Brigade paraded in the road at Robecq but officers and men were disappointed as the King took another road. On the same day the Brigade diary records that Gunner Patrick Hamill, 2nd Batter RFA was wounded in billet at Gorre. Since doing my research into the activities of the brigade I have wondered if he was working on making some equipment and something went wrong. Family tradition has it that he was injured manning one of the field guns. After receiving first aid in France, Paddy was brought to England to Fazakerley Hospital, Liverpool. He was operated on and a metal plate inserted in his skull in place of damaged bone. His sister Minnie who was working in Blackburn came to visit. His recuperation seemed to go well and preparations began at him home in Roan for his return. As he prepared for his return home, Paddy was struck down by a sudden onset of septicaemia. Nothing could be done, the disease progressed rapidly and he died on 26 March, 1915. Paddy's parents grief was immense. His mother wore a locket for the rest of her life which contained a piece of his golden hair. She had little regard for his service medals and one had the undignified end of being used as a saucer under a pot plant.