PEOPLE – GILL George William Mr. – The Man Who Returned From The Dead
Accreditation Cleveland Standard 19/01/1935.
REDCAR MAN “WHO RETURNED
FROM THE DEAD”
Presented with Naval Long Service Medal
YOUNGEST HOLDER OF SUCH AWARD
Aboard Ship Reported Sunk With All Hands
Dubbed “The Man who Returned From the Dead,” a Redcar man who, some years ago was reported dead, and for whom a memorial service was held in the Methodist Church, has just been awarded the Long Service Medal for his work in the Navy.
He is Mr. George William Gill, whose business address is 18, Queen Street, Redcar, but who lives at 12, Yeoman Street.
Mr. Gill is only 33 years old and as believed to be the youngest man at present with such a medal. He has other medals also.
Mr. Gill told me (writes a “Standard” representative) a thrilling story of how he was believed dead, and how actually, he escaped death by inches.
“It happened in 1922,” he said. “I was drafted to H.M.S. “Raleigh,” and sailed to join her in H.M.S. “Dartmouth” when she continued her voyage, and to warmer seas we ran into a typhoon, which carried away our wireless mast, boats, and deck tackle.
“To add to our misfortune she caught fire in Mid Atlantic as we were limping home. She was reported sunk with all hands.
“There was a memorial service held for me in Redcar Methodist Church. However, we had managed to put the fire out and reached Plymouth safely, but long overdue..
“At Plymouth I found 21 letters waiting for me, from relatives and friends. One came from my mother. She wrote ‘Dear son if you are alive….and get this letter – remember we have been praying for you….”
“Prior to this adventurous , Mr. Gill was involved in the Baltic blockade in 1919, and the crew of his ship were several days without provisions.
“H.M.S. “Vendetta,” he said, “got through to rescue them, and on board was another Redcar man, the late Mr. Wilfred Leng.”
Born in Stockton, Mr. Gill is the son of Mr. Wm. Gill. the well known Tees-side estate agent. His parents came to Redcar in 1906 and have resided there ever since.
He left Coatham Church of England School when he was 13 and went into business with his father.
When war broke out in ’14 he was a member of the local Boy Scouts and joined Saltburn Cadets. Shortly afterwards he joined his father in connection with Endsleigh Palace Officers’ Hospital, London, now the Mercantile Services Hospital for Tropical Diseases.
With his father at the hospital he had the honour of being present when the King paid a visit. His father conducted His Majesty around the hospital.
Mr Gill’s elder brother, Oswald (36) was in the Royal Field Artillery.
During three long years the father and his two sons were together for only one hour!
Now happily married, Mr. Gill is the proud father of two daughters, aged seven and three.
May 1, 2010 People & Characters