Walter Newell Hill – Brigadier General, United States Marine Corps

Born at Haverhill, Massachusetts, September 29, 1881, he was a student at Noble & Greenough School, Boston; at Harvard, 1900-04 and a graduate of the Army War College in 1929. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps in 1904 and advanced through the grades to Brigadier General in 1938. He served in the West Indies, Philippines, China, France in World War I and in Washington, D.C.

He earned the Medal of Honor for service at Vera Cruz, Mexico. He died on June 29, 1955 at the St. Albans Naval Hospital in New York City and was buried in Section 6 of Arlington National Cemetery.

Marine Brigadier General Walter Newell Hill, who earned the Nation’s highest decoration in the 1914 capture of Vera Cruz Mexico, died June 29, 1955, at St. Albans Naval Hospital, New York.

Commissioned a second lieutenant in 1904, he served continuously on active duty until 1938, and came out of retirement to serve during World War II. He retired again in 1945 after a Marine Corps career that spanned four decades. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery on April 21-22, 1914, when a Marine and Naval landing force occupied Vera Cruz during a crisis between the United States and Mexico. His citation states, in part:

“[The then] Captain Hill was in both days’ fighting at the head of his company, and was eminent and conspicuous in his conduct, leading his men with skill and courage.”

Son of Edwin Newell Hill and Mrs. Lizzie Williams Hill, the general was born September 29, 1881, in Haverhill, Massachusetts. He was a student at Harvard University prior to his appointment as a Marine second lieutenant February 1, 1904. By the time he won the Medal of Honor he had served at sea, at various posts and stations in the United States and in Cuba, China and the Philippines. Afterward, he went on to serve in France during World War I, and in the Virgin Islands, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. He was awarded the Haitian Medaille Militaire for service in that country during operations against rebel bandits.

General Hill was promoted to first lieutenant in July, 1906; captain in June, 1913; major in October, 1917; lieutenant colonel in March, 1926; and colonel in February, 1934. Upon retirement in September, 1938, he was advanced to brigadier general on the retired list for having been specially commended in combat.

Returning to active duty in January, 1942, he served at Marine Corps Headquarters, Washington, D.C., until the end of the war.


NEW YORK, New York –  June 30, 1955 – Brigadier General Walter N. Hill, U.S.M.C., retired, who won the Medal of Honor in the Mexican Border campaign, died yesterday in St. Albans (Queens) Naval Hospital after a brief illness.  His age was 73.

General Hill retired in 1945 after thirty-one years service in the Marines.  He had participated as a Captain in the Vera Cruz campaign in 1914 to help quell the Mexican Insurrection.  On April 22, 1914, for “distinguished conduct in battle,” he received the Nation’s highest military decoration.

He served later in France in World War I and with the Haitian Constabulary in 1919-21.  The President of Haiti decorated him with the Medal Militaire.  General Hill was at Marine Corps Headquarters in Washington during World War II.

Late in 1914, after President Wilson ordered United States troops evacuated from Vera Cruz, General Hill’s private remarks about the withdrawal drew a warning from Josephus Daniels, then Secretary of the Navy.

The general had admitted saying privately that there might be “disorder in Vera Cruz when troops leave.”  He had denied, however, any comment on his point in a news interview attributed to him.  Secretary Daniels asserted he would court martial any officer who criticized President’ Wilson’s policies.

General Hill was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts.  Graduated from Harvard College in 1904, he was commissioned that year as a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps.

Surviving are his widow, the former Mary Fitzpatrick of 222 East Seventy-First Street; a daughter, Mrs. Leigh Hill Endweiss of Laguna Beach, California; a son, Walter Newell Hill, Jr., and three grandchildren.



Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 29 September 1881, Haverhill, Massachusetts. Appointed from: Massachusetts. G.O. No.: 177, 4 December 1915.


For distinguished conduct in battle, engagements of Vera Cruz, 21 and 22 April 1914. Capt. Hill was in both days' fighting at the head of his company, and was eminent and conspicuous in his conduct, leading his men with skill and courage.


Read our general and most popular articles

Leave a Comment