BELFAST — World War II veteran Basil Aubrey Hills, 101, passed away peacefully Jan. 27, 2022, at Harbor Hill Center.

Basil (or B.A., as he was also affectionately known) was born in Belfast at 2 in the morning Jan. 4, 1921, one of the snowiest and coldest nights that winter. He was the son of Herbert and Mildred (Lamson) Hills, who both predeceased him, and was also predeceased by his loving wife, Esther (Simpson) Hills; his daughter, Judith Buxton; his brothers Richard and Raymond Hills; his sisters Helen Clements, Frances Rumney, Evelyn Hills, Marie Clark and Ann Bucklin; and his partner, Jennie (Pearse) Clark.

He grew up with his nine brothers and sisters on a small farm on Route 3 and attended high school in Belfast. In May of 1937, Basil enlisted in the Belfast National Guard and joined Company K of the 103rd Infantry Division, with which he trained in Blanding, Fla.; Camp Shelby, Miss.; and Fort Ord, Calif., before being sent to Auckland, New Zealand, in 1942.

His tour of duty took him from there to New Caledonia, Guadalcanal and New Georgia, where he was injured during the Battle of Munda Point by a mortar round explosion that left him with shrapnel wounds in his face, hands, body and legs. After he recovered, Basil rejoined Company K in New Guinea, where he was promoted to staff sergeant. In 1945 he returned home with a Purple Heart awarded to him for his honorable service.

Basil married Esther Simpson of Belmont shortly thereafter and started a job at Mathews Brothers, where he worked as a foreman until his retirement in 1987. Basil and Esther moved to Winter Haven, Fla., for several years before returning to Maine to live in Northport and later Belmont. One of their favorite pastimes was playing cards with their dear friends Emilie and Richard Geraghty, formerly of Belmont.

Upon the passing of his wife in 2007, Basil met Jennie Clark, with whom he lived for several years until her passing. A great source of pride for Basil was his trip on Honor Flight Maine in 2016, which he spoke of often.

Basil’s kind and gentle disposition endeared him to many. His loyalty to family and friends was matched only by his dedication to his country. A true hero, he lived his life with honor and virtue. He will be greatly missed.

Basil is survived by his older brother, Glenn Hills, of Belfast; his younger brother, Carl Hills, and his wife, Barbara, of Searsmont; his granddaughter, Michelle Doughty, and her husband Matt of Massachusetts; his grandson, Craig Buxton of Florida; his grandchildren, Arcadia, Cirie, Ashley and Andrew; and a large and close-knit extended family.

Heartfelt thanks go out to the staff of Harbor Hill and Kindred Hospice for their caring support. A celebration of Basil’s life will be held in the spring. Arrangements are with Riposta Funeral Home, Belfast.

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