"Edward Bailey Hills was recruited by the Royal Engineers in London on 29 May 1876 at the age of 24; his 'former Trade or Occupation' is given as clerk and draughtsman. Hills was posted to South Africa in May 1879 and took part in the latter stages of the Zulu War, and it was during this year that he passed a class of instruction in 'Drawing S.M.E. Superior'. He had been promoted corporal on 19 March 1879 before leaving England and held this rank at the time of the investment of Pretoria in 1880-81. However, he seems to have been fond of the bottle as he was convicted of drunkenness in November 1878, December 1881 and May 1891 and was reduced to the ranks on the second and third occasions. Following the final incident, his reduction from quartermaster sergeant engineer clerk to sapper seemed to have proved the final straw and he took his discharge on 6 June 1891"