Topic: Charles Hill (c1836-1864)

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Lieutenant Charles Hill was a survivor of the wreck of the H.M.S. Orpheus and one of those killed during the Battle of Gate Pa on 29 April 1864.

Charles Hill was the son of Rev. Copinger Hill, Buxhall Rectory, Suffock.

He was aged 28 when he died during the Battle of Gate Pa on 29 April 1864.

From the New Zealand Herald on 7 May 1864:

LIEUT. HILL OF THE CURACOA. We have boon favoured with the following communication, which wo gladly insert, relative to the last deed of daring of this gallant young officer, who fell in the late fatal attack on the Gate Pa at Tauranga"-

It appears that Lieut. Hill, as second in command, was one who led the forlorn hope in the first charge on the entrenchments. He had gained an entry into the pah when he was struck by a bullet through both cheeks, which, made him retire to the parapet to staunch the flow of blood by tying a pocket handkerchief round his head. He then rushed on a second lime with the reserve under Captain Hamilton, and upon this fatal occasion he actually succeeded in getting right into the centre of the enemy's strongest works, where his body was found the next morning.

This is the officer who was so mercifully preserved from the wreck of H.M.S. 'Orpheus,' and he distinguished himself by his repeated and gallant endeavours to save the lives of his less fortunate shipmates. His conduct on this occasion gained him universally high and flattering praise from all the members of the Court Martial held on his return to England after the loss of the ship. Each member desired to shake his hand and to have the honor of his acquaintance, and the president in returning his sword addressed him in the following language:- "Lieut. Hill. I have great pleasure in returning this sword to so resolute and brave an officer as yourself, for, I feel assured that, whenever your country may call upon you to use it, it will be found that it could not have been placed in better hands."

Lieutenant Charles Hill of HM ss Curacoa was made a lieutenant on 15 May 1858 and it will be recollected was one of the few survivors from the wreck of the HM ss Orpheus. He returned to England and was appointed to HM ss Curacoa. He was one of the officers in command of the Naval Brigade at the storming of Te Papa and he was one of those who were found lying dead inside the pa – a good proof that they fell at the post of duty. His end is the more melancholy from his connection with the ill fated Orpheus. [Southern Cross, 3 May 1864, p3].

 

Sources:

Naval Review (Vol. 70 No. 2 April 1981).

New Zealand Herald (7 May 1864, p. 3).

The Gentleman's Magazine (Vol II, 1864).

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Charles Hill (c1836-1864)


Year:1864
First Names:Charles
Last Name:Hill
Date of Birth:c1836
Place of Birth:Suffock
Country of birth:England
Date of death:29 April 1864
Place of death:Gate Pa, Tauranga, New Zealand
Place of burial:Mission Cemetery, Tauranga
Occupation:Lieutenant
Date of Arrival:1864
Name of the ship:HMS Curacoa
Date of arrival in Bay of Plenty:1864
Fathers name:Copinger Hill

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