Herbert Edward Shill, who was called "Bert" by his family was born in Ufford, Suffolk, England on December 30th, 1894.
When Bert arrived in Montreal, Canada in 1908 with his family, he was 14. At first he went to school.
On the 1911 Canadian Census, Herbert Shill was living with his family at 625 Casgrain, in Montreal in the District of Maisonneuve. He is shown to be employed as an Insurance Agent at Prudential and had worked full time (54 hours per week) for 52 weeks in 1910. Bert's yearly income for 1910 was $750.00. The 1911 Census indicates that he held a life insurance policy with a value of $1800.00 which cost him $55.00 per year. He could read and write and spoke French and English.
By the time Bert enlisted in September 1914, he was working as a clerk for Imperial Tobacco. According to his sister, Nell, Imperial Tobacco continued to pay it's employees while serving in World War 1.
"He worked in Imperial Tobacco before he went over and they were paying all the men while they were over there, putting it in the bank for them, you see.
Anyway, that comes up to the point where my younger brother joined up (Sept 21st, 1914) and he didn't stay in Montreal at all. They sent him right down to Valcartier. That's where they were gathering everybody together to ship overseas. So we never saw him in his uniform.
Grace went down there with a bunch of girls that knew some of them but I was too young (15 yrs old). I wasn't allowed to go, but she went down and saw him off."
Bert enlisted with the 1st Grenadier Guards in Montreal which was one of three existing regiments whose amalgamation created the Royal Montreal Regiment on August 27th, 1914.
Bert's attestation paper was filled out on the 21st of September, 1914 and he was in Valcartier the next day. He assigned $15 per month from his pay to go to his mother, Ellen Mary Shill.