This post commemorates a man who died in 1920, due to Tuberculosis aggravated by his service in the Army. Identified as an omission by Mack on the Manchesters forum, the research has produced a package of records that In From The Cold Project are using for Albert Hall to be recognised as a casualty of the Great War. Family members have provided great assistance with the project, including Albert and his family. These produce a wider article to illustrate the impact of the Great War on the Hall family.
An Edwardian Family
Albert was the fourth son of Elizabeth and John Elias Hall. He was born in Stretford on 18th October 1887. Albert was part of family of 10 children, although five siblings had died before 1911. In 1891 the family lived at Moss Side and John Elias was employed as a letter carrier. By 1901 the family had moved to 78 Radnor Street, Hulme, where they continued to be resident for many years.
In 1911 John Elias had retired as a Postman and lived with Elizabeth and other family members. John Elias passed away in 1915 and Elizabeth died in 1918.
Samuel Roby Hall (b 13/7/1877) was the eldest surviving son in 1911. He had married Mary Jane Arnold in 1906, although she had passed away in 1907 and Samuel had returned to live with his parents. He was a Warehouseman in the woollens business.
The second son was Frank Vernon Hall (b 19/7/1880). Frank had enlisted in the Loyal North Lancashire (LNL) Regiment on 6th December 1897, aged 18 years 4 months and describing his occupation as Groom. He had previously served in the 3rd Militia
Battalion. Frank was posted to 2nd Battalion of the LNL, extended his service and received Good Conduct Pay, with 2nd Class Education Certificate. He served until his discharge as a Private on 5th December 1909. Frank had served overseas, but not joined hostilities in the Boer War.
Frank had married Georgina Wrath on 14th June 1909 and the couple had three daughters prior to the Great War and one son in 1919. In 1911 Frank and Georgina’s family lived at 6 Bridgewater Street, Bolton. Frank was a Tea Merchants Travelling Salesman in 1911.
Family records indicate Albert Edward Hall had been a Postman aged 16. In 1911, Albert lived with his Aunt (Father’s Sister), Hannah Clarkson at 118 Whyteville Road, Forest Gate, in East London. He was then 23 years old and employed as a Weaving Overlooker. Later that year Albert was baptised at St Michael’s, Hulme.
Great War Service
War was declared on Germany on 3rd August 1914. The three brothers all joined the Army and the photo shows a thoughtful Elizabeth with her sons.
No records have been found for Samuel Roby Hall’s service. He was 37 years old in 1914 and it is likely that he was discharged as being unsuitable or unfit for the military. Samuel remarried to Florence Harrison at St Clément’s Church on 4th March 1916. He was then employed as Warehouseman, indicating had been discharged from the Army. The couple had two sons and a daughter.
Frank Vernon Hall re-enlisted as a Sapper in the Signals Company of the East Lancs (Territorial) Royal Engineers (RE) during the Great War, as number 1540. Frank had previously been employed as an office telegraphist, which must have led to his posting as a Signaller. Press reports indicate Frank had worked for the Tramways Department in Bury. He embodied for overseas service on 2nd October 1914, having lived at 2 Laurel Street, Rochdale Road, Bury. He served in Egypt from 8th March 1915 as part of the East Lancs Divisional Signal Company and disembarked at Gallipoli on 4th May 1915. In August 1915, Frank was Mentioned in Despatches for service in Gallipoli. The local press reported:-
“Gallant Actions Another Bury Soldier Congratulated Another Bury soldier has received the congratulations of the General for Gallant actions performed on the field of battle at the Dardanelles Sapper F V Hall having received a card as follows;
“The General Officer Commanding the 42nd East Lancashire Division congratulates No. 1540, Sapper F V Hall 42nd (East Lancashire) Division Signal Company, on the Gallant actions performed by him on the 7th and 9th August 1915 – W Douglas, Major-General Commanding 42nd (East Lancashire) Division”. Sapper Hall whose home is at 2 Laurel Street, Bury served 12 years in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and after his retirement he was a motorman on the Bury Corporation Tram ways.
On the outbreak of war he joined the Royal Engineers and has been acting as a telegraphist and he has been attached to the 5th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers and also to the 7th Battalion. One of the Gallant actions he performed was that of taking the place of a linesman who had been killed and doing his work as well as his own; and he also moved his office to near a sap to avoid the breaking of lines. He received communication saying “The good work and the Gallant conduct of yourself and your men today has been brought before of the special notice of the Brigadier General”. We are informed that Lance Corporal Stanley Bracewell who was a conductor on Sapper Hall’s tram car and who is now in France has also been congratulated for Gallant conduct.”
Frank was posted Home on 2nd February 1916 and hospitalised for five days, with kidney disease, in Brighton during January 1917. He joined the British Expeditionary Force on the Western Front on 27th February 1917, transferred to 66th Divisional Signals Company RE. Following Territorial re-numbering in 1917, Frank was allocated 444117.
Frank returned Home on 3rd September 1918, possibly hospitalised at Southwark Military Hospital, Dulwich. He was discharged as a Sapper on 16th April 1919, aged 40 years and none months. He received a Pension of 11/- per week for 40% disability for Albuminuria (Kidney Disease) attributable to service. His Character was described as Very Good, having been Mentioned in Despatches (MiD) in August and November 1915. Frank received the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, with Oak Leaf of MiD and Victory Medal. He also received a Silver War Badge and the Serbian Silver Medal for distinguished service in Gallipoli.
Albert Edward Hall had returned to Manchester and enlisted as Private 1785, in the 6th (Territorial) Battalion of the Manchester Regiment on 14th July 1913. The 6th Battalion had been at Camp in Hollingwood near Oldham when War was declared. Most men embodied for overseas service and embarked for Egypt in September 1914, prior to entering hostilities at Gallipoli in June 1915. Some men did not volunteer for overseas service and others were declared unfit. They formed the 2/6th (Reserve) Battalion which ultimately became a training Battalion for drafts of men to the front, especially when conscription began in 1916.
Albert did not serve overseas, possibly due to his health condition. He was promoted to the Rank of Sergeant and he was discharged with Pulmonary Tuberculosis on 8th November 1915. He received a Pension, assessed as 20% disabled for his condition, determined as being aggravated by his military service.
Following discharge Albert married Rebecca Lonsdale at St Mary’s Church, Hulme on 23rd December 1916. He described his occupation as Foreman and his brother Frank witnessed the vows. Albert and Rebecca had three children and is recorded as working in a cotton goods warehouse.. Twin boys Ronald and William Albert were born in Runcorn on 11th May 1919. Gwendoline Beatrice was born on 7th October 1920.
Albert had not been present for the birth of Gwendoline, as he died on 17th April 1920. His death Certificate shows he died at his parents’ former home at 78 Radnor Street, Hulme as a result of Pulmonary Tuberculosis that he had suffered from for four years. Rebecca was present when Albert passed away and was the informant on his Death Certificate. Albert was buried in Southern Cemetery, Manchester on 21st April 1920, sharing the grave plot with his mother.
Rebecca received no Pension from the War Office, because they had married after Albert had been discharged from the Army. Rebecca remarried with Ernest Knight Upson Welsh in 1923. The couple had a son, Ernest, born in 1923 and he died aged 18 months. They moved to Runcorn and Rebecca lived there until she died in 1973.
The sad loss for the Hall family in the Great War was extended to the youngest daughter, Ethel Maud Hall. Ethel had married Charles Robert Seville at St Paul’s Church, Hulme on 22nd May 1916. Charles was a serving member (22870) of the 2nd Battalion, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (KOYLI) and must have been on leave at the time. He returned to the Western Front, where he was killed less than two months after their marriage on 1st July 1916. Initially recorded Wounded and Missing, Charles was later assumed to be dead. Charles had originally enlisted as 21142 in the Durham Light Infantry. He had joined the KOYLI in France on 5th May 1915.
Ethel remarried to Thomas Henry Melia at St Mary’s Hulme on 26th August 1922. The couple had two children.
In common with many men who died after discharge from the Army, Albert Edward Hall’s grave was not commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Pension Index Cards were recently published and these sometimes enable the cause of discharge to be identified with the cause of death. For an individual to be commemorated after discharge, it needs to be shown that they died from a condition attributable to, or aggravated by military service. Albert’s Pension Cards confirm the TB was aggravated by service and the Dependents Card indicates TB as the cause of death.
The cause of death was confirmed by George’s Death Certificate and an Application is being made via IFCP, through the Ministry on Defence, for George to be categorised as a casualty of the Great War. If / when this is successful, the case will be passed to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission for Commemoration and they will accept Norman’s burial into their care, if / when his grave is identified.
Pension Index Cards
Medal Index Cards
Silver War Badge Roll
Manchester Burial Records
National Roll of the Great War
British Library National Newspaper Archive. Crown Copyright
Great thanks for invaluable help from:-
Debbie Abbott – Provided the photos and background of her husband’s Grandfather, Frank Vernon Hall.
In From The Cold Project Terry and Chris for patient corrections to innacurate reports.
Manchester Regiment Forum Particularly Mack for help identifying and reviewing non-commemorations.
Apologies if I’ve missed anyone. Please let me know.