Hood Battalion. Royal Naval Division, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.

Killed in action, aged 23, on the 30th December 1917.

Son of Peter and Mary Mills, of 7, North Terrace, Skelton-in-Cleveland, Yorks.

Husband of Ethel Beatrice Symons (formerly Mills).

The Thiepval Memorial.

1911. William, aged 16, is living at the Poultry House, next to Barns Farm, Skelton. He had been born at Coundon, Co Durham.
His Father, Peter, aged 42, was the Gamekeeper for Skelton Castle. He had been born in St Boswells, Roxburgh.
His Mother, Mary, aged 39, had been born at Tivier-head, Roxburgh. She had had 2 children and William was the only one living.
At the time of his death William was married to Ethel Beatrice and his parents by the end of the War had moved to 7 North Terrace, Skelton.

The Royal Navy had a surplus of men to ships and they were organised into the Royal Naval Division.
They fought as soldiers with a rifle in khaki, but retained Naval traditions.
The Hood Battalion was part of the 63rd Royal Naval Division.
At the time of William E Mills' death, his Battalion were fighting in an area near Cambrai called "Welsh Ridge".
From the 20th November to the 7th December they had fought in the Battle of Cambrai, which was a British offensive against the formidable Hindenberg Line.
It was penetrated at a weak point and the Germans driven back some 4 miles.
They quickly reinforced and responded, regaining half the lost ground.
By the end of December William's Battalion were defending the Front shown by the Red Line.
At 6.30 a,m. on the 30th December the 63rd Divisionís front was heavily bombarded for fifteen minutes followed by a infantry attack, with Flammenwerfer [Flamethrowers] detachments. British fire took toll of the Germans, but at many points the "Boche" entered the forward trenches, where the defenders had suffered heavily from the German bombardment.
William Mills was killed at some time in this action.
The Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave.

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