French Legion of Honour recipient and war veteran dies

New Brighton Countdown - Frank Hill, life member of the New Brighton RSA. PHOTO: GEOFF SLOAN

The passing of  New Brighton identity Frank Hill will be felt by many.

The  World War 2 veteran passed away at Christchurch Hospital last Tuesday, aged 95.

Mr Hill, who grew up in Sydenham, joined the army as a 16-year-old before moving into the Royal Navy. He then served on an American tank-landing ship in the Atlantic Ocean during the war.

In 2015 he was awarded the French Legion of Honour.

In an interview with Pegasus Post two years ago, Mr Hill said he joined the war for adventure.

“I wasn’t patriotic really; I just wanted some adventure like most people in the
forces.”

After the war he worked as an electroplater. “We used to make tea sets which were all the rage after the war.”

Mr Hill, who was well known in New Brighton, moved to the suburb in 1949 with his Welsh-born wife Mary, whom he brought back to New Zealand after the war.

The pair bought a section for $95 and went on to raise two children in the seaside suburb.

Mr Hill, who was very independent, had lived alone with his cats Lucky and Bowie after Mary passed away.

After retiring at 70, Mr Hill was very involved in the New Brighton RSA.

Executive manager Garry House said he was a loyal and supportive member who particularly enjoyed being involved in the annual RSA poppy appeal.

Mr Hill was very active up until two years ago.

“He would travel to visit RSA clubs around the South Island. He knew everybody.”

A regular visitor at the New Brighton Club, Mr Hill enjoyed playing the pokies and socialising, “especially with women. I like women’s company, I can’t help that.”