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Hillman, Robert F., World War I

Larger Photo of Robert Hillman
Certification of Military Service

Robert Forsey Hillman was born at Winn, Maine, 30 December 1892, the son of Hiram Madison and Jane (Poore) Hillman. He was educated in the schools of Bangor, Maine. Following high school graduation in 1912 he worked for Vose Pottery at Bangor where his talents for printing and art were used to provide advertising. In 1917 he enlisted in the U.S. Army, was trained at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, and was assigned to the 317th Field Signal Battalion. His unit shipped on the America from Hoboken, NJ, on 10 July 1918 and arrived at Brest, 18 July.

From there his diary states they went to Laferte in RR boxcars, then to Boubonne Les Bains, to Chattilon, to Ligny, to Souilly, to Recourt, and finally to Hill 300 on 12 September. By 3 Octiber he was at Mt Falcon and "found things quite lively." Their responsibilities were primarily to operate switchboards and patrol communication lines. They finally moved to Barleduc on 27 November and then to St. Mihiel on 2 December. He received his first gun since arriving in France on 12 December, an automatic pistol. They left for Marseilles 14 May and sailed for America on the Pannonia 23 May arriving in New York Harbor, 6 June 1919.

Robert moved to Detroit, Michigan in early 1920 to work in the automobile industry. He became the foreman of Materials and Shipping for what eventually became the Chrysler Corporation at the Jefferson Avenue Plant. Retiring in 1954, he died at Detroit 17 November 1957. On 28 January 1926 he married his longtime friend Bertha Veazie Kingsbury at Brewer, Maine, and took her to Detroit. They enjoyed a wonderful life together visiting friends and family in Maine as vacations allowed.

Submitted by Ralph E. Hillman, son of Robert and Bertha