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Maxwell Charles Hill

Portrait, Weekly News 31 December 1941 - This image may be subject to copyright

Portrait, Weekly News 31 December 1941 - This image may be subject to copyright


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Maxwell Charles AWMM
  • Surname
    Hill AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    1811 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    11 July 1913 AWMM WellingtonNew Zealand AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    Unknown AWMM 139 Russell Street, Palmerston North, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    Mrs C.M. Hill (mother) Totara Street, Eastbourne, Wellington, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status
    Pre 5 January 1940 AWMM Single AWMM


Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
    Western Desert AWMM
  • Armed force / branch
    Army AWMM
  • Service number
    1811 AWMM
  • Military service
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards
    Military Cross (MC) AWMM
    30 December 1941 AWMM
    The National Archives. Recommendation for Award for Hill, Maxwell Charles. (Ref. WO 373/27/433). Military Cross. AWMM

Training and Enlistment

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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes
    Killed in Action, Cause of Death AWMM

Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Son of Charles Mackintosh Hill, and of Ada Gwendoline Hill (nee Millar), of Wellington

    2 Lt M. C. Hill, MC; born Wellington, 11 Jul 1913; assurance clerk; killed in action 25 Nov 1941. (Source: Murphy, W.E. 2nd New Zealand Divisional Artillery. p.72.)

    'Lee Force defended Dhomokos and began to take up position on 17 April north of the town: two Australian battalions plus a company and 2/1 Field Regiment. There were no anti-tank guns, and when most of 31 Anti-Tank Battery under Captain Sweetzer reached Dhomokos about 7.30 p. m. on the 18th, Brigadier E. A. Lee stopped Sweetzer and told him to get his guns off the road and attend a tactical conference at once. Sweetzer had with him eight 2-pounders and these went into position under heavy air attack. Next day air attacks were almost incessant. The rearguard was expected to stay there until the night 21–22 April; but the Australian Major-General I. G. Mackay decided that there was no need to stay so long and ordered Lee to withdraw after dark on the 19th. Demolitions were blown at 7 p. m. Then the Australian field guns engaged an approaching convoy until it was discovered to be friendly. Lee Force then withdrew; but nobody told Captain Sweetzer. Two of his guns were ahead of the demolition and could not be brought out. Next morning the 31 Battery detachment found itself in sole occupation of the Dhomokos position. The crews of the two isolated guns came back on foot and the whole detachment made off along the road to Lamia.
    Lee had left another rearguard at Fourka, however, and this, too, had no anti-tank guns. So Sweetzer's six remaining guns went into action in defence of the Fourka Pass. Here they suffered more than air attack; for the enemy brought up artillery and made liberal use of mortars. Tanks also appeared and were engaged by tanks with Lee Force. As the engagement was warming up word came that all other troops were safely past Lamia and this final rearguard could withdraw. The injudicious dissemination of these orders to men engaged with the enemy (though not, again, to Sweetzer) caused something of a panic as infantry raced to their vehicles. In the midst of the storm the six guns of 33 Battery attracted much fire and could not reply to it. The anti-tankers responded splendidly and two of them were decorated later for what they did here: Lance-Sergeant Harper (MM) and Second-Lieutenant Hill (MC). One gunner was not decorated but rebuked for indifference to danger that amounted to foolhardiness. Harper's citation reads in part that his gun position,
    ‘owing to the sudden retirement of the infantry and MG platoon, was exposed to accurate observed fire of enemy 5-9-inch infantry guns. In withdrawing his gun L/Sgt Harper showed the utmost coolness and parade precision in giving his orders and seeing them carried out, with the result that his gun and detachment were enabled to get out from what appeared to be an impossible position. On reaching the position of assembly, to which the shelling had switched, this NCO again showed marked coolness in holding his men together in spite of a general panic of infantry and tanks….’
    And Hill, according to his citation,
    ‘supervised the embussing of Australian infantry on such vehicles and tanks as were available under considerable and accurate shelling of the road … and … was largely responsible for the safe withdrawal of the infantry and anti-tank guns and preventing the incipient panic from spreading….’
    Both citations actually speak of the Dhomokos Pass; but the Fourka Pass was the scene of the actions for which Hill and Harper were decorated. The anti-tankers were not sorry to leave it. As they passed through Lamia the Stukas were sleeping, but the town still cringed from their blows and fires were alive in many places among the shattered buildings.' (Source: Murphy, W.E. 2nd New Zealand Divisional Artillery. pp. 72-73) AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    25 November 1941 AWMM
    Age 28 AWMM
    Western DesertNorth Africa AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Knightsbridge War Cemetery, Acroma, Libya AWMM 14. H. 1 AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name

Roll of Honour

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  • While researching the Millar and Hill familes, who are distant cousins, I noted that Captain Audley Millar had been killed in action at Passchendaele in October 1917. Audley was the uncle of 2nd Lieut Maxwell Hill MC who was also killed in action - this time at Tobruk in November 1941. Both men had their lives before them but sadly it was not to be.
    Rest in peace Maxwell -you are not forgotten.
    Public - Nigel - Other relative - 18 March 2022



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  • External links
  • References
    • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1941). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 1 (Embarkations to 31st March, 1940). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      WW2 1: WW2 82 AWMM
    • Murphy, W. (1966). 2nd New Zealand Divisional Artillery. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
      pp.72-73, 107-119. AWMM


Command item
Command item
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DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
18 March 2022NigelGold Coast AustraliaOther relative

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