Born in 1899, Eldred was the youngest boy in a family of 11 children living in Pyrford (six boys in total). The Hills were a local family that had lived in the village for many generations, in Coldharbour Lane and the Crescent.
Eldred enlisted in the British Army at Weybridge as Private No. 61460 in The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment. In 1917 or 1918 he was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps and renumbered No. 125194, Private ‘A’ Company, 15th Battalion. He died in action on 10 June 1918 in France (Faubourg D’Amiens).
He was a dispatch rider in the Machine Gun Corps and was shot by a German sniper. He was aged only 19. As well as on the war memorials, his name is recorded on the family grave plot in the old graveyard of St Nicholas’ Church in Pyrford, along with his parents, Henry Hill and Julia Hill (nee Axford-Read).
In 1919 his mother Julia received a War Gratuity of 9 pounds 7 shillings and 6 pence and then a further 5 pounds.
At least three other brothers also enlisted; these three all survived the war:
Sidney Thomas Axford Hill born 1885, a Private in the Royal Fusiliers.
Charles George Hill born 1892, a Private in The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment.
Ernest Andrew Hill born 1897, a Private in the Royal Field Artillery.
It is likely that the Army put the brothers in different regiments to keep them apart. There were two other brothers, Courtney Hill born 1883 and Clarence Hill born 1894. Courtney was a Railway Platelayer on the London and South Western railway (L&SWR), a reserved occupation, meaning he didn’t have to enlist. Clarence may also have enlisted but no record found as yet.