Harold Albert HALL

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HALL, Harold Albert

Service Number: 2798
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 16th Infantry Battalion
Born: Katanning, Western Australia, 15 November 1896
Home Town: Kadina, Copper Coast, South Australia
Schooling: Kadina Public School and St Peter's College, Adelaide
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Illness while a Prisoner of War , France, 17 September 1917, aged 20 years
Cemetery: Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez
Arras, Nord Pas de Calais, France
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Hackney St Peter's College Honour Board, Kadina Memorial High School WW1 Honour Roll, Kadina War Memorial Arch
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World War 1 Service

21 Sep 1915: Involvement Private, SN 2798, 16th Infantry Battalion, Third Ypres
21 Sep 1915: Embarked Private, SN 2798, 16th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Star of England, Adelaide

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Biography

From the book Fallen Saints 

Harold Albert Hall of Woodville South Australia was born at Katanning, Western Australia in November 1896.  He was educated at Kadina Public School and the Collegiate School of St. Peter and after leaving school, worked as a draper’s assistant in his father’s shop at Kadina until he took up farming.

Because Kadina was classed as a remote locality, he was exempt from compulsory training so his only military experience prior to enlistment was the three years he served in the cadets at Kadina School.

Harold enlisted at Keswick on 14 July 1915 and was in transit at the Infantry Base Depot, Mitcham until he joined the 9th quota of reinforcement for the 16th Battalion on 16 August. He sailed from Adelaide with that quota aboard HMAT Star of England on 21 September and after further training in Egypt joined the battalion at Gallipoli on 13 November.

The 16th Battalion was formed in Western Australia in September 1914 and trained at Blackboy Hill near Perth. Approximately 75 per cent of the men in the battalion hailed from Western Australia and the remainder from South Australia.

The battalion and sailed from Fremantle to Melbourne in November to join the 13th, 14th and 15th Battalions of the 4th Infantry Brigade at Broadmeadows Camp.

When they landed at Anzac at 6 p.m., on 25 April and for the first week the 16th Battalion were heavily pressed in the bitter fight to hold the beachhead then on 2 May were called upon to attack Bloody Angle.

After heavy losses there, the battalion continued to be involved in the defence of Anzac and in August took part in the assault on Hill 971.

In early1916, the 16th Battalion was split to provide experienced men for the 48th Battalion and Harold was transferred to the 48th at Tel el Kebir, but was posted back to the 16th on 20 March and sailed for France in June.  

He survived Pozières but during the fighting at Mouquet Farm on 12 August was shot in the left arm and evacuated via 29th Casualty Clearing Station to 20th General Hospital, Camieres.

Fortunately, his wound was not severe and on 24 August, he was discharged to the Convalescent Depot at Boulogne where he remained until rejoining the battalion in the field on 11 September 1916.

On 11 April 1917 during the first battle of Bullecourt, 2798 Private Harold Albert Hall was captured at Reincourt and held in a PW Camp until transferred to the German Reserve Field Hospital Bouchain, France where he died of illness on 17 September 1917; he was 20 years of age.

Reports and Witness Statements [i]

A report by the Australian Red Cross Mission, dated 9 July 1919 stated that after he was captured at Reincourt on 11April 1917 Harold was held at Lager Friedrichsfeld. According to a German report from Kriegsgef Stamm Lager Limburg Harold Albert Hall died on 17 September 1917 and was buried in Grave No. 57 of the Military Cemetery at Bouchain, France.

When interviewed in London immediately after the war a returned prisoner of war, Private Herbert Victor Loechel said, ‘He died from result of eating potato peelings which he had picked up. Doctor reported that he died from poison this was at Bronchain (sic) near Cambrai. He died on the following day after eating these peelings; I was there at the time and saw him. Was buried at Bronchain (sic) in French Civil Cemetery, I was at funeral, cross was erected as French people look after this. Was only a lad.’

Harold’s uncle, Second Lieutenant Sydney Gordon Leslie Hall (OS) was killed in action while serving with the 11th Battalion, at Anzac on 8 August 1915.



[i] Australian War Memorial, Australian Red Cross wounded and missing enquiry bureau files – Hall, Harold Albert /1240713, viewed 10 November 2005

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