Major General Sir Basil Alexander Hill was commissioned into the Royal Marine Artillery in September 1897, transferring to the Royal Army Ordnance Corps in 1908. He has a distinguished career in the First World War, seeing action in the siege of Qingdao in1914, in Gallipoli and the Egyptian Expeditionary Force. He was mentioned in dispatches three times and awarded the DSO in1919. He retired from regular service in 1941. On the formation of the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in 1942 Sir Basil was appointed the first Colonel Commandant, holding the appointment until 1947.
Besides being an avid art collector, Sir Basil was a passionate rugby football player, having played for England in nine International matches. In 1946, he presented the Hill Cup, awarded annually to the winner of the REME Rugby Union competition in the United Kingdom.
Our Wednesday 15 May auction of Fine Asian & Islamic Works of Art in London will include a selection of Chinese ceramics from Major General Sir Basil A. Hill's collection, including a blue and white 'Eight Immortals' bowl bearing a Rong Yin Tang Zhi mark from the Qianlong Period and a blue and white dish with a Kangxi six-character mark and of the period.