William James (Bill) Sill

William James (Bill) Sill (1916-2004) – trade unionist and Sussex Brigader 

William James (Bill) Sill, was born in London on 23rd December 1916.  His father, John Michael Sill, was a music hall artiste. He worked as a machine-driller in Brighton, and was a member of the AEU (Amalgamated Engineering Union) and was living at 25 Upper Rock Gardens, when he volunteered to fight with the International Brigades.

25 Upper Rock Gardens

He joined the British Battalion on 29th January 1938.  He was twice wounded: in April 1938 he was wounded in the head on the Aragon Front, but recovered to take part in the Republican offensive on the River Ebro, where he received a leg wound. The medic who treated his wound was fellow Brighton volunteer Anton Miles. “ I went to Spain,” Sill told a local paper after he was repatriated on 7th December 1938, “simply because I felt that the Spanish Government was fighting for the right cause.”

Bill Sill, Ernie Trory and Anton Miles at Brighton station on 12 December 1938 homecoming

In the Second World War Bill Sill served in the RAF boat rescue service, and on 2 December 1943 he married Amy Florence Limbrey in St. Albans.  Sill emigrated to Australia in the late 1950s and died in Sydney New South Wales in 2004.

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