Douglas Greenhill was born on 22nd November 1883 in Rugby. He was the second son and fourth child of Alfred George Greenhill born in Rugby and Ann Hedges born in Rowington, Warwickshire.
In the 1891 Census, Alfred is a Surveyor/ Architect and the family are living at 28th North Street, Rugby.
Two years later Alfred died aged 40 in Rugby.
Douglas attended Rugby Lower School, and in the 1901 Census is living at 30, Princes Street, Rugby, with his widowed mother, Ann. He is a Fitter Apprentice at Willans Works off Leicester Road. His siblings are: Frederick aged 21, Assistant Town Surveyor, Ethel A is 14 and Angela M is 11. He continued to work as an engineer after his apprenticeship. During his leisure time he played football and played for the Northern Counties.
Douglas enlisted in late 1914, in the 4th Battalion Grenadier Guards. After his initial training, he started preparation for service in France. The War Diary does not commence until the 15th of August 1915, when the Battalion had arrived in France. This records a draft of 25 NCO’s and men joining from Base. Over the next 10 days the Diary records Officers going home on leave and returning from leave, including 2nd Lt. Lascelles from Harewood House in Yorkshire.
On 1st September after days of drill, they marched from Wizernes to Wayrans, south west of St. Omer. Wood fighting practice was followed by a route march culminating in a series of marches to Loos, arriving on 27th September, where they occupied the German 2nd Reserve trenches, west of Loos. On the 29th 3 Officers and 59 other ranks were wounded and 2 days later Major Nichol DSO died of wounds.
The first 2 weeks of October, saw heavy shelling by the Germans with 52 casualties. On the 29th, the Brigade moved to billets in Sailly La Bourse and the rest of the month was quiet.
On the 9th November they moved to Merville, between Hazebruck and Bethune. After a steady drill, they entered trenches on 17th, which were very wet, with a great deal of work needed. The rest of the month was quiet.
By the middle of December, the 3rd Guards Brigade were in route march and practice drill daily, and held in reserve. On the 22nd they moved into trenches at Dicentie. Their Christmas dinner was finally held on 3rd January 1916. Their routine until mid-February became 1 day in front line trenches, followed by time in billets and 2 days in reserve trenches.
On 16th February a big change, the Battalion entrained to Calais. Lt. H R The Prince of Wales and Captain Lord C Hamilton joined, and they all marched to camp. 22nd heavy snow prevented drill. On the 26th they moved by train to Kierken Port near Wormhouldt in Belgium.
On the 11th March 30 Officers and 240 OR set to work n the Kaaie Salient, north of Ypres. Captain Viscount Lascelles was slightly wounded by a bomb when instructing the company.
Early September was a quiet time: Divine Service, an Inter-Battalion Regimental Boxing competition, and training. On the 6th they moved to Cernoy where the French had broken through the German line. 8/9th they repaired the road from Cernoy to WEDGE ROAD., under incessant artillery fire.
The 9th saw them move up to Front Line Trenches (FLT) by the 13th they had moved to HAPPY VALLEY in Fricourt. The big attack was launched but was not a success. 48th and 167th Brigades reached their target, the 47th didn’t. They were relieved by the 4th Battalion Grenadier Guards, at Ginchy. Phone communication with HQ was cut by heavy shelling. Active sniping by the enemy kept them from attacking. and whole trenches were obliterated. 3 Officers were killed.
Sargeant Greenhill was wounded on 15th September and died of wounds at No. 21 Casualty Clearing Station. There is no entry for 15th September in the War Diary so we do not know how he was wounded. He is buried in La Neuville British Cemetery, Corbie 11 F 29.
He was awarded the Victory and British War Medals and the 15 Star.
RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM