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Remembering World War I Yarmouth Connections
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Edgar Robbins Hilton
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Edgar Robbins Hilton 734526 Private Royal Canadian Regiment November 1, 1893 Hebron, Yarmouth Co., NS April 5, 1916 22 Yarmouth, NS Dayton, Yarmouth Co., NS 5 feet, 4 inches Dark Grey Dark Single Farmer Methodist James Allen Hilton (Father), Dayton, NS April 11, 1919 (Halifax) 1983 Nickerson Family Cemetery, Summervile, Yarmouth Co., NS Edgar Robbins Hilton was the son of James Allen Hilton (1848–1938) and Annie Allen (1854-1915). His father was a shoemaker, born in Deerfield, Yarmouth County, NS. Edgar married Minnie Belle (Nickerson) Hilton (1899-1981). They had a daughter Ann Caroline (Hilton) Browett (1935-2000). Private Hilton enlisted with the 112th Battalion in Yarmouth, NS. He sailed from Halifax July 23, 1916 on the RMS Olympic arriving in Liverpool July 31, 1916. He transferred to the Royal Canadian Regiment (RCR) on April 13, 1917 and landed in France April 17, 1917 and served in France and Belgium. He was hospitalized with impetigo while serving in Europe from September 27 to October 29, 1917. He also was injured with ICT (inflamed connective tissue) in his right leg and left foot from September 2 to September 13, 1918. This was a common injury among soldiers, one of the top five conditions treated in the field due to all the marching done and poor conditions. He sailed on HMT Northland from Liverpool on March 27, 1919 arriving in Halifax April 3, 1919. He was discharged at Dispersal Station B, Military District Number 6, in Halifax, Nova Scotia on April 11, 1919 and returned home to Yarmouth County. HMT Northland was the SS Zeeland; a British and Belgian ocean liner of the International Mercantile Marine Co. It was a sister ship to Vaderland and a near-sister ship to Kroonland and Finland of the same company. Although her name was Dutch, it was changed during the First World War to the less German-sounding SS Northland. Edgar and Minnie married in 1929. They had one daughter Ann Caroline (Hilton) Browett (1935-2000). Minnie died in 1981 and Edgar in 1983. They are buried in the Nickerson Family Cemetery, Summerville, Yarmouth Co., NS. The Poem “Old Vets of World War I” was written by Minnie Hilton. Minnie's brother Gordon Nickerson served in the war. As did her first cousin, John Greenough, who she grew up with in the same household. Tim Nickerson married Elizabeth, the granddaughter of Edgar and Minnie. In the fall of 1979, he paid Minnie and Edgar a few visits. They were always very enjoyable occasions for everyone there. I was very young, 16 years of age. … On one of those visits, Edgar took to speaking of the war. It was the only time that I recall him talking about the war in my presence. He told one funny story and he named the places he spent time in and the battles that he participated in. The story had to do with a black soldier named Charlie. Now, the way that I understood it at the time is that Charlie was a soldier in Edgar's unit. During some sort of battle, Charlie was in in close proximity to a limestone building when a bombing of that building turned no small amount of it to dust. As a result, Charlie had turned most decidedly white. The places and battle names I remember with graded degrees of certainty. Ypres is way up there, Passchendaele is there but it is vague. Edgar was laid up for the bulk of the battle of Passchendaele. Stricken with Impetigo, he lived in a number of different medical stations from September 27, 1917 to Oct 30, 1917. Edgar also named Orange Hill. I'm certain of it. I had understood it to be a place where he saw battle. There's a war cemetery there, but until recently I had not found anything on any fighting that may have taken place there. Orange Hill was taken early in the Battle of the Drocourt- Quéant Line. One other battle name that I'm very sure of is Vimy Ridge. It was rigid in my mind for years and I argued about it over the years with others who knew him. Edgar told me that he had just missed Vimy Ridge. Edgar arrived in England on July 31. On March 2, 1917, he was struck off strength from the 112th and taken on strength by the 26th Reserve. On April 13, he was struck off strength to the RCR. The following day, he arrived in France. He really did just miss Vimy.”
Library and Archives Canada The Sailing of RMS Olympic Tim Nickerson
Edgar Hilton and wife Minnie Belle (Nickerson) Hilton
OLD VETS OF WORLD WAR I  Remembrance day at the monument, The band played softly, the prayers were said, An able preacher gave a good talk, Some of us simply bowed down our head.  Thinking perhaps of a lad we loved, With a slender build and fearless eyes, Who marched away in nineteen fourteen And was given, a human sacrifice.  So many brave boys are asleep out there With a grateful love we remember them. But a lot of life's sorrows they have missed, They do not grow old or the years condemn.  But what about the boys who came back home, Who faced death bravely uncounted times, Men whose numbers did not come up When the bullets whistled over the lines.  Who, inch by inch, gained back the ground Where now red poppies star the grass. Then it was miles of living Hell, And blood, and shrapnel, and mustard gas.  There was a job that they had to do, And they did their best with a ready mind. And when it was over they marched back home, But they left the best of their youth behind.  Some of these men are wrecks today, Their nerves are shattered, their health is gone. But as in the days of fourteen eighteen They do their best and they battle on.  But they do not forget those hectic days Or the nights they slept in a bed of mud While the rats ran over their lousy clothes, Clothes that were stained with their comrade's blood.  There may be things we can do for them, An encouraging word that we can say. Let's not be afraid to give them a hand, We owe them a debt we can never pay.  Some may be grumpy, a few may whine, They are not as young as they used to be When they chased the Kaiser over the map, And fought like dogs that we might go free.  Remembrance Day at the monument, To some of us it is holy ground. But let's give a smile and a helping hand To the men who came back and are still around.  Minnie Nickerson Hilton (1899-1981)