On a column in the central aisle of St Mary’s Church, Pilton, is an intriguing brass plate to a General J T Hill who was born in Pilton on the 10th January 1811 and died in Newton Abbot on the 15th.April 1902.
A search on the Internet has revealed very little about the background of this person, i.e. where in Pilton he was born, where he went to school or anything about his family.
However a more advanced search has produced his military history, and a fascinating story it shows.
Ensign John Thomas Hill joined the 32nd (Cornwall) Regiment of Foot in March 1827, was promoted to Lieutenant in April 1829, and Captain in February 1835, and finally Major in March 1841. During this time it is possible he saw action in the Lower Canada Rebellion of 1833, also known as the Patriots War.
On the 3rd of April 1846, he joined Royal Scots Fusiliers (21st Regiment of Foot) as Lieutenant Colonel.
In June 1854 he joined Royal Lancashire Fusiliers (20th Regiment of Foot), then 75th (Stirlingshire) Regiment of foot as Colonel (1872). On 24th June 1876 he was promoted to full General.
Finally, on the 8th April 1890 he joined Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, becoming General of the whole Regiment in September 1892.
The various websites of these regiments show very little information about campaigns but from the dates, apart from the aforementioned Lower Canada Rebellion, it is also possible he would have been at the Seige of Lucknow of 1857.
As you can see, John Thomas Hill lived a very full military life.