Sydney Gordon Leslie HALL

HALL, Sydney Gordon Leslie

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 11 May 1915, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Second Lieutenant
Last Unit: 11th Infantry Battalion
Born: Lucindale, South Australia, 22 July 1891
Home Town: Adelaide, South Australia
Schooling: St. Peters College, Adelaide, South Australia
Occupation: Bank Official
Died: Killed In Action, Gallipoli, 6 August 1915, aged 24 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Memorials: Fremantle Union Bank of Australia Ltd. West Australian Staff Roll of Honour, Hackney St Peter's College Fallen Honour Board, Kadina & District WW1 Roll of Honor, Kadina Town Hall WW1 & WW2 Roll of Honour, Kadina War Memorial Arch, Lone Pine Memorial to the Missing, Pingelly Memorial Rotunda, Unley Arch of Remembrance, Unley St. Augustine's Church Roll of Honour, Unley Town Hall WW1 Honour Board
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World War 1 Service

11 May 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Officer, Adelaide, South Australia
6 Jun 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, 11th Infantry Battalion, ANZAC / Gallipoli, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '10' embarkation_place: Fremantle embarkation_ship: HMAT Geelong embarkation_ship_number: A2 public_note: ''
6 Jun 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, 11th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Geelong, Fremantle
6 Aug 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 11th Infantry Battalion, ANZAC / Gallipoli, --- :awm_ww1_roll_of_honour_import: awm_service_number: awm_unit: 11 Battalion awm_rank: Second Lieutenant awm_died_date: 1915-08-06

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Sydney Gordon Leslie Hall of Hyde Park, South Australia was born at Lucindale in 1891. He gained his early education at the Norwood College before then attending the Collegiate School of St Peter where during his time as an army cadet he quickly developed a passion for all things military. 

After leaving the School, he was a clerk with the Adelaide branch of the Union Bank and was subsequently transferred to the branch at Kadina then to Western Australia where he worked at the Perth, Fremantle and Pingelly branches.

In South Australia, he served with the 81st (Wakefield) Infantry and upon relocating to the west transferred to the 88th (Perth) Infantry. He attained the rank of captain in the militia and when he applied for a commission in the AIF in May 1915, it was approved.

Second Lieutenant Hall sailed from Fremantle aboard HMAT Geelong as OIC of the 6th quota of reinforcements for the 11th Battalion on 6 June 1915.

When his mother completed the details on the Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour circular she wrote that while in Western Australia he had been in charge of prisoners on Rottnest Island and was an Instructor at Blackboy Camp. [i]

He joined the 11th Battalion at Anzac on 4 August and two days later was reported missing after leading a charge at Leane’s Trench but was later listed as killed in action on 8 August.

The date of death for Second Lieutenant S. G. L. Hall is obviously incorrect and remains so at the time of writing.

There are a number of reports with conflicting dates in Second Lieutenant Hall’s Red Cross file, which show how individuals in the same battle often recall dates and even specific events quite differently. [ii]

Red Cross – witness statements

During an interview conducted in December 1915, Corporal Alex Anderson said 'Hall was killed on the 6th August when the Turks tried to recover a trench taken the previous week.’ Corporal Anderson reported Hall was absent from the roll call later that day and never accounted for.

Lance Corporal Robert Hills said ‘The Turks attacked at day break and took a portion of our trenches near Tasmanian Post. A charge was ordered to retake them, and was led by Lieutenant Hall, who fell during the charge.’ Hills said he later heard, Hall’s disc was brought in, and that he was, ‘well liked in the battalion.’

Court of Inquiry (convened at Anzac on 14 August 1915.) [iii]

When called to speak at the Inquiry Lieutenant Edward Richard Pinnell said Second Lieutenant Hall led a counter attack against the Turks on the left front of Leane’s Trench on the morning of 6 August and last saw Hall as he disappeared over the slope immediately on the left of Leane’s Trench. He said unsuccessful searches were made under enemy fire, but as the ground was very broken, he thought Hall’s body might have been overlooked then, and again during several searches later made under the cover of darkness.

Lieutenant Anthony Purdon Corley said he was defending the left of Leane’s Trench on the morning of 6 August 1915 when Hall and his party counter attacked on the left front. He said ‘the enemy retired rapidly under heavy fire from Leane’s Trench’ and was of the opinion that under the circumstances ‘it was not possible for the enemy to have taken any prisoners.’

The Court’s finding was that Lieutenant Hall was killed in action on 6 August 1915.

Recorded under date 7 September 1915 on Army Form B103 in Hall’s File is the following short sentence. ‘Death confirmed by letter from O/C., 11th Battalion stating that Lieut., S.G.L.T HALL’S body was found on night 6/9/15.’

Sydney Hall’s nephews, Private Sydney Francis Hall, 57th Battalion, died of wounds on 14 May 1917 and Private Harold Albert Hall, (OS) 16th Battalion, was captured and died of disease in a German Prison Camp.

[i] Australian War Memorial,  Roll of Honour Cards 145,1914-1918 War, Army - Hall, Sydney Gordon Leslie, viewed 20 September 2005
[ii] Australian War Memorial, Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau files - Hall, Sydney Gordon Leslie / 1240902, viewed 20 September 2005
[iii] National Archives of Australia: B 2455,  - Hall, S G L / 3008065, viewed 21 September 2005