b. 08/02/1885 Kilkenny, Ireland. d. 24/04/1915 Ypres, Belgium.
Frederick William Hall (1885-1915) was born on 21st February 1885 at Kilkenny, County Kilkenny, Ireland. His father, Frederick Matticott Hall, enlisted in the 104th Regiment (Bengal Fusiliers, later Royal Munster Fusiliers) on 14th December 1869 in London. He served at Gosport, Shorncliffe, Aldershot, Portsmouth and Dover in Britain and Birr, Dublin, Curragh and Enniskillen in Ireland. He became a Bandsman on 6th July 1871 and a private on 1st April 1875. He later rose through the ranks reaching Sergeant by 1879. He then transferred into the 4th Battalion, Essex Regiment Militia on 14th November 1881 and re-engaged in the Royal Munster Fusiliers at Warley on 1st December to complete his 21 year service. He discharged himself in 1888, and became a Bandmaster in the 2nd Volunteer Battalion of the South Lancashire Regiment. His mother was Mary Ann “Marianne” Ellen nee Finn. They had married in Belfast in 1880. Fred had six siblings, three brothers and three sisters.
Fred enlisted in the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) Special Reserve at Warrington on 4th February 1901, giving his trade as a musician. He requested to serve with 2nd Battalion to work alongside his uncle, Quartermaster Thomas Finn. In November 1902, he was appointed Bandsman and posted to South Africa to join the 2nd Battalion. Having reverted to private on his own request in 1905, he returned to Britain and was appointed lance corporal on 26th August and posted to the 1st Battalion in India. He was promoted to Corporal in 1909. He continued to rise through the ranks , reaching unpaid lance sergeant in 1911. He qualified at the School of Musketry in South Africa and passed the Machine Gun course in December 1911.
In 1912, he returned to Britain having completed 21 years service, and was promoted to Sergeant in 1913, and left service on 20th May. He migrated to Canada and worked as a clerk in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He served in the 106th Regiment (Winnipeg Light Infantry) before the First World War. He joined the 8th Battalion (Winnipeg Rifles), CEF in September 1914. He arrived in Plymouth on 15th/16th October and spent four months in training at Larkhill. He was promoted to acting Sergeant and then Colour Sergeant in December 1914. The Battalion sailed for France on 10th February 1915 and disembarked at St Nazaire on 13th February. The Battalion joined the front line on 15th April, taking over French positions.
It was on the night of April 23/24, 1915 during the Second Battle of Ypres in Belgium that Hall discovered a number of men were missing. On the ridge above he could hear moans from the wounded men. Under cover of darkness, he went to the top of the ridge on two separate occasions and returned each time with a wounded man.
By nine o'clock the next morning (April 24) there were still some men missing. hi daylight and under a hail of enemy fire, Hall, Cpl Payne and Pvt Rogerson crawled out toward the wounded. Payne and Rogerson were both wounded, but returned to the shelter of the front line. When a wounded man who was lying some 15 yards from the trench called for help, Company Sergeant-Major Hall endeavored to reach him in the face of very heavy enfilade fire by the enemy. He then made a second most gallant attempt, and was in the act of lifting up the wounded man to bring him in when he fell, mortally wounded in the head. The soldier he had attempted to help was also shot and killed.
Hall’s body was not recovered and he was commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres. His VC was posted to Canada by the War Office on 5th August and was later presented to his mother in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In addition to his VC, Hall was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-20 and Victory Medal 1914-19. His VC was acquired by the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa on 8th November 2012.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: CANADIAN WAR MUSEUM, OTTAWA, CANADA.
BURIAL PLACE: NO KNOWN GRAVE - ON MENIN GATE MEMORIAL, YPRES. PANEL 24-30
Hall's medals when loaned to the Manitoba Museum in Winnipeg in October 2014
Named on a family grave in St Helens Cemetery, St Helens.
Memorial stone laid in April 2015 in St Helens.
Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin (Thomas Stewart)
Kilkenny War Memorial (Nigel McFadzean)