Remember the Deadeyes

Bill Hill - 96th Infantry - Indiana

Danville HS Graduate Uses His Talents to Honor William “Bill” Hill and the 96th Infantry

There are some people in this world who are just so special that we have to count ourselves lucky to have known them. For David Neville, a musical composer who graduated from Danville high school, that person was William “Bill” Hill. Bill was the great-grandfather of Neville’s high school girlfriend and now wife, Anna.

“When I met him he just radiated this positive energy. He was like a kid who was in an aged body. He was full of life and joy and just wanted to share his experiences with everybody, and that just completely resonated with me,” Neville described.

Bill Hill was a WWII Veteran who fought in the 96th Infantry in Okinawa. He and his daughter, Jan Wharton, created a website called “Remember the Deadeyes”, which is dedicated to preserving the rich history of the 96th infantry, who were called “The Deadeyes.” The site allows for the documentation of everyone’s stories and experiences from that division. 

Neville was strongly moved by the stories Bill shared and by the stories that were shared from other members of the 96th Infantry. He remembers that time being eye-opening for him as he was able to get a small look into their lives from what they shared. 

“All of these people, who probably never met when they were actually fighting, now have this connection to one another and they’re willing to share their sacrifices and their experiences that they had gone through while fighting this massive war,” Neville mentioned.

Sadly, Bill Hill passed away in February of 2018. Neville felt this loss deeply and realized the world was now deprived of such a wonderful person. In the wake of his passing, Neville was inspired to create a musical composition dedicated to Bill and the others in the 96th Infantry. He named the piece “Remember the Deadeyes” in their honor. After composing the music, Neville reached out to people who had contributed to Bill’s website and asked them to submit photos, which he used to create a video to accompany the song. This was the best way he knew how to honor Bill and his dedication to this group of people. 

“This was a way for me to process the death of Bill and to help, in the best way I can, his mission and perpetuate his goal to tell the story of those who fought and died during that conflict,” Neville shared.

In November of 2019, Neville invited members of this group and their families to view the video while a concert band performed his composition live in Indiana. His brother, Matthew Neville, was able to participate as well by playing in the concert band during this performance. Now that David Neville has moved to California to pursue his music career, he has decided to make a “West Coast Premier” in hopes that anyone who might live closer to the west coast might be able to attend and view the performance. The performance will take place in April of 2024 featuring the LA Symphony ensemble. 

The website Bill and Jan created is: rememberthedeadeyes.com

To view and listen to the composition visit: