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Henry (a.k.a Harry) Hall was born in Freckleton in 1884 the son of Peter and Martha Hall (nee Cardwell). Harry`s parents were married in the Holy Trinity Church in Freckleton on the 3 November, 1881 and as well as Harry they had another son William who was born in 1890.
Harry`s father Peter Hall was a master mariner and in the 1890`s he was the master of `The Lancashire Lad` which was a 151 ton three masted schooner. The `Lancashire Lad` at that time was being used to carry coal along the west coast from Runcorn down to Cornwall and then on the return journey it was loaded with china clay.
By 1901 Harry, his brother and parents were living in Preston Road in Freckleton. Harry was working as a cotton weaver in a local mill and his father Peter now retired from the sea had opened a coal merchant`s business in Freckleton.
Peter Hall died on 22 December, 1903 and so by 1911 Harry`s mother Martha had taken on the running of the coal business with the help of Harry, William and her brother Thomas Henry Cardwell.
In 1913 Harry married local girl Ann Wray Rigby in Freckleton. Harry was a temperance worker and also a teacher in the Wesleyan Sunday School so it is likely the couple married in the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Freckleton.
Harry`s service papers have not survived so unfortunately little is known about his actual enlistment and service. However, he apparently enlisted at some point after January 1916 and then after a period of training with the 3rd Battalion he was sent to France and posted to `D` Company of the 10th Battalion.
The 10th Battalion were in the 112th Brigade of the 37th Division and they were involved in the Battle of Arras (April 9th – May 16th 1917) and had suffered heavy losses with 28 officers and 478 non-commissioned officers and men killed, wounded and missing.
After Arras the Division was sent to the Kemmel sector to reorganise and recover, the Kemmel sector was generally spoken of as being a relatively quieter part of the line.
On the 1 July, 1917 they were moved up nearer to Wytschaete and there they provided working parties for the 1st Australian Tunnelling Company who were working on the Wolverghem – Wytschaete Road. For the next couple of weeks the Battalion continued with the routine of working parties but still suffered a few casualties from time to time due to shelling.
On the 23rd July 1917, a raid was conducted by D Company, the following War Diary entry explains;
23rd July – In the trenches
`D` Company carried out a raid this morning on RIFLE FARM. The raiding party consisted of: – 2 fighting platoons, 2 extra Lewis gun teams and an extra section to take charge of prisoners etc. All belonging to `D` Company and commanded by Captain J.A. GRAVET (M.C.).
The object of this Patrol was to enter RIFLE FARM, clear up situation and to take prisoners.
Having already lined up before dawn in shell holes they advanced on their objective at 7 a.m. (ZERO HOUR).
Owing to barrage on left being too much west and south it necessitated a half right form.
On arrival at May Farm it was found to be empty but owing to fresh cigarette ends and matches it was obviously being used by night.
From here to RIFLE FARM enclosure the raiders were subjected to moderate machine gun and rifle fire (when I say moderate, I do not mean slight). On reaching the enclosure the raiders were met by very heavy machine gun and rifle fire. A machine gun was located in BEEK FARM.
A trench running parallel to and close under western edge of enclosure was held by Boche; these were dislodged but continued to fire from centre of enclosure. Our bombers got into the trench and proceeded in both directions.
At 07.30 hours reinforcements of about 40 men came from the direction of BEEK FARM over dead ground, where they opened heavy rifle fire.
The enemy by this time had obtained superiority of fire. The number of enemy at this time was calculated to be at least equal to a `Company`, rendering it impossible for us to actually get to the dug outs.
Upon these dug-outs, rife grenade fire was brought to bear.
Two prisoners were taken near western edge and close to RIFLE FARM and some shelters destroyed but no more identifications were found in the shelters.
The allotted time being up, the signal to return was given at 07.27 hours by whistle. As soon as all our wounded had been got in (07.45 hrs), the prearranged signal was given for barrages to slacken.
Our telephone lines having been cut, communication was maintained by pigeons and runners.
The following observations were made :-
Rifle Farm is strongly held without out-posts to north and south flanks by day, and advanced posts to the west by night
The machine gun barrage did not appear to be very heavy, but this might be because there was so much noise.
Concrete dug-outs are on the left and centre of the enclosure, the farm itself on the south eastern corner of the enclosure is in ruins.
Until about 07.30hrs the enemy barrage was most inaccurate, appearing first to the north and then to the south of the farm.
At this hour, they placed it upon our shell-hole line.
All of our casualties were caused by rifle and machine gun fire. No instances of wounds caused by shell fire were found.
OC Raiding Party, and all members of the raid confirmed that the enemy suffered very heavy casualties and without any exaggeration are estimated at least twice as many as ours, as more than ten men were seen to fall as if killed, whilst more than twice this number appeared to be hit.
This estimate is purely from our rifle and machine gun fire. Casualties from shell fire are unknown, but must have been considerable.
It is known for certain that one of the enemy machine gun team was killed.
The (German) officer who appeared to be in command of RIFLE FARM seemed to have led a charmed life. His leadership and disregard for personal danger was admirable.
Private Harry Hall took part in this particular raid by D Company and it was announced later that he was to be one of several men who would receive an award for their actions on that day.
The Preston Guardian printed the following article on the 17 August, 1917 following news of the announcement.
The 10th Battalion were disbanded in France in February, 1918 and at some point after this Harry was posted to the 9th East Surrey Regiment.
Harry was finally presented with his Military Medal at a ceremony in Freckleton on the 15 March, 1919. The Preston Guardian reported on the event.
Along with his Military Medal Harry also received the British War and Victory Medals in recognition of his services to his country.
Harry passed away in Preston Royal Infirmary on the 11 March, 1945 aged 61 years. His home address at the time was at Hall Cross Farm, Freckleton. He was laid to rest in the Holy Trinity Church graveyard in Freckleton. Harry`s widow Ann had outlived him by forty years when she passed away in 1985 at the grand old age of 95.
Janet Davis has been researching her family history for many years and through this she discovered many relatives who served in WW1. This interest then led Janet to do many walking the battlefield tours with her husband. In April 2013 she discovered this website and volunteered to help. Janet believes that there are lots of stories still to be told, most of them very sad but at the same time they are a fascinating insight into the men, their families, what they did and where they came from.
(This post has been visited 280 times in the last 90 days)
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- 12638 PTE. W. HANLON. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 12641 PTE. R. STOPFORTH. L.N.LAN.R 1 Comment
- 12703 LCPL. W. H. SMITH. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 12736 PTE. J. ROSCOE. L.N.LAN.R. 1 Comment
- 12739 PTE. J. HACKING. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 12741 PTE. E. MCPARTLIN. L.N.LAN.R. 1 Comment
- 12746 CPL. T. DOWNS. L.N.LAN.R. 1 Comment
- 12774 SJT. T. CROSS. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 12784 LSJT. A. DANSON. L.N.LAN.R 1 Comment
- 12874 PTE. R. WALSH. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
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- 12976 SJT. H. P. MAKIN. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
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- 16762 PTE. R. CLEGG. L.N.LAN.R 2 Comments
- 16780 PTE. A. RABY. L.N.LAN.R 2 Comments
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.. all they found were the remnants of German sentries blown to bits by our shells, and two live Germans who they bayoneted, bringing back no prisoners dead or alive.
10th Battalion War Diary
In the trenches near Bienvillers - 4th June 1916
- .. all they found were the remnants of German sentries blown to bits by our shells, and two live Germans who they bayoneted, bringing back no prisoners dead or alive. 10th Battalion War Diary
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