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Born in Ballarat, Ernest Purnell Hill was a single 23 year old cabinetmaker at the time of his enlistment in Geelong, Victoria on the 1st of October 1914. His unit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A38 Ulysses on the 22nd of December 1914.
On November 5th 1914, he was promoted Corporal. He was promoted again on the 1st of May 1915 to Sergeant and then to Company Quarter Master Sergeant on the 14th of November 1915.
On the 30th of June 1916, Ernest was wounded in action; he was invalided to the U.K and admitted to the Upperton Red Cross Hospital in Eastbourne on the 2nd of July 1916 suffering with a gunshot wound to his abdomen. Ernest was awarded the Military Medal on the 7th of November 1916.
He was promoted Second Lieutenant on the 20th of April 1917.
Ernest rejoined his unit on the 30th of April 1917. He was wounded in action again on the 18th of October 1917 with a gunshot wound to his head. He was promoted to Lieutenant on the 30th of October 1917. On November 9th 1917 he rejoined his unit.
Ernest returned to Australia on the 10th of December 1919 and his appointment was terminated on the 25th of March 1920.
Tree No. 289