Private Clement Trill – Royal Sussex Regiment

Clement Trill, was a Private in the 13th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment (SD 2803). He fought at the Battle of the Boars Head at  Richebourg L’Avoué, on the 30th of June 1916 and died the next day on the 1st July 1916 of his injuries at the age of 29 years. Trill is buried at Merville Communal Cemetery, France.

Clement Trill’s Brother, Lance Corporal Charles Tower Trill, was in the 7th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment. He too was killed in action during an attack on German positions at Ovillers on the Somme on 7th July 1916, aged 21 years. Lance Corporal Charles Tower Trill is Buried Ovillers Military Cemetery, France.


Clement Trill was born in 1888 to Henry James Trill (born 1856 and died 1911) and Elizabeth Bardwell (died 1921). Henry and Elizabeth married in 1880 and lived in Brighton. They had seven children: Fredrick (b. 1881), Edith Maud (b. 1882), Dennis (b. 1884), Clement (b.1888) and Gertrude Eva (b. 1891), Florence (b. 1893) and Charles (b. 1902). In 1901 The family are recorded to be living in Chancellors Park in Keymer, Sussex.


Clement Trill married Violet Davies (born 1898). They had one son named Clement R. Trill who was born in Dartford in 1916. In 1939 Clement R. is recorded to be living with his mother Violet at 19B Madeira Place and his profession is stated as an electrician and plant maintenance person at Allen West.

Military career:

Clement enlisted in Brighton into the 13th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment. The battalion crossed to Le Havre from Southampton on 5/6 March 1916. Clement’s regimental number is consecutive to that of Albury TURNER (SD 2804 – who was born in Coventry but whose family had returned to Brighton.  Albury Turner was presumed to have died at the Battle of Boar’s Head).

Clement was wounded at the Battle of Boar’s Head and died the following day of his wounds. The attack was frustrated by heavy machine gun fire from the Germans on to the left flank of the advance, and the fact that the smoke which was supposed to obscure the advance from the enemy’s sight drifted across no-man’s-land and made it virtually impossible for the men to see where they should be going and this caused confusion.  

The war diary for the battalion merely notes that casualties were “very heavy” and no estimate is given of how many men were killed or injured.  However, it was later reckoned that 360 men died and over 1100 were injured or missing hence “The Day Sussex Died”.

On the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Comprehensive Report it shows that Clement’s headstone gives his age, his regiment, date of death and the inscription “In ever loving memory from his wife and little son.”

He is commemorated on the Newick war memorial.

Post war:

Violet gave birth to their son, Clement, in the July to September quarter of 1916.  Violet does not appear to have remarried and died in Hove in 1956.  Clement Jr. married Daisy Edwards in 1940 and did not serve in the Second World War as he seems to have been in a reserved occupation whilst working at Allen West in Brighton.  In the 1939 record Clement is living at 19B Madeira Place and he is described as an “electrician and plant maintenance person”.

The other Trill boys:

Sadly Clement’s youngest brother, Charles died just six days after him and is buried in Ovillers Military Cemetery.

Frederick Henry Trill also served and was apart of the Rhine Army. He married Florence Paul in 1972. Frederick died in Camden Town in 1957 and Florence died the following year.

Dennis Bardwell Trill also served with the Royal Sussex Regiment (G5757). He died in Brighton in 1958.



3 thoughts on “Private Clement Trill – Royal Sussex Regiment

  1. Thankyou so much for such a detailed account and learning more about his history, Clement Trill was my Great, Great Grandfather. His Son Clement had two children, John and Diana. Diana being my Grandmother.

    I have just returned from Merville visiting his grave.



  2. Pingback: Albury Charles Turner | The Orange Lilies - Brighton & Hove in the Somme

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