Noel B Hall, B Company, 19th Battalion, 4th Brigade, 2nd Canadian Contingent
On this 100th anniversary of Great Britain’s entry in the first world war, it seems fitting to examine the small traces of evidence we have about the only soldier casualty of that terrible war that I know of in my family.
The Hall family were a prominent Durham family, who ran the Old Elvet School in the city. Noel moved from Durham, England to Toronto, Canada shortly before the war. When WW1 broke out he enlisted in the Canadian Army. However he stayed in touch with his family in England (see postcard below).
He wrote to a friend in Toronto who published what Noel wrote about his embarkation journey via England to the Western Front in their local newspaper (see article below).
He was promoted to Corporal during the war. He fought in the Battle of Courcelette in 1916 (see news paper article, which does not mention his name) and was killed on 26 October 1916. He was only 24.
In 1925 his body was moved from the Cite Calonne Military Cemetery to the Loos British Cemetery due to local French laws and sanitation regulations. The Imperial War Graves Commission wrote to his aunt Rosa Beatrice Hall with this news (see letter).
Noel was my Grandmother’s cousin (her mother Charlotte Eliza Hall’s nephew), Rosa was Granny’s aunt.
In June 2008 me and my family tracked down and visited Noel’s grave at Loos British Cemetery. It is a small cemetery, immaculately maintained and we saw it on a sunny day. I wonder if Rosa ever managed to visit his grave, she was listed as his next of kin so I can guess that they were close. We hope to visit his grave again in 2016.
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