DIVISIONAL UNIT: 18 Eastern British Division
54th Infantry Brigade
6th Battalion - Northamptonshire Regiment
British Infantry Corps
DATE OF BIRTH: April 14, 1894
Clinton – Goderich Township – County of Huron – Ontario
DATE OF DEATH: April 5, 1918 23 years 11months
MEMORIAL: Pozieres Memorial – Pozieres –
Somme – France
PARENTS: Mr. Frank and Eva Hall – Clinton / Seaforth
William received all of his primary and secondary educations in Huron County. We were unable to find out what his employment was prior to him leaving Canada for England, when he left Canada or where he enlisted into the British Army This Battalion was formed in Northampton during 1914 and was part of Kitchener’s Army. They were attached to the British 12th Eastern Division and in November of that year transferred to the 54th Brigade in the same Division and moved to the Salisbury Plain in mid 2015.
April 4th was the beginning of the Battle of Avre which was during the final enemy attack toward Amiens of the war. On April 5th the second day of the battle was when the enemy once again tried to renew their offensive. This failed. By early morning the British had forced the Germans out of all but the south-east portion of the town. This was as far west as the Germans would go and Ludendorf called a halt to his offensive.
April 5th began wet and misty and the Germans used this to try and sneak his infantry up the valley and into the dead ground to within 100 yards of the Battalion front lines. All morning the enemy had brought down a heavy artillery barrage and trench mortar fire onto the front. Then the Battalion was enfiladed by enemy machine gun fire coming from Hangard Wood and then strong points were formed and a section of Trench Mortars was put onto the left flank.
The enemy machine-gun fire and enemy artillery fire continued through the morning and into the early afternoon and the enemy used a good deal of gas. The Battalion front was being pounded by enemy shell fire and trench mortar fire and the Battalion was suffering severe losses but they were able to hold the line and keep their positions.
By late afternoon the Battalions lines had been pierced in many places and what was left of the Northamptonshires were able to collect themselves and take up a position on the ridge midway between Gentelles and Domart. At this moment the French messaged the Battalion informing the Battalion they had been forced out of Hangard but were going to counter-attack to try and retake the village. The French asked for assistance and at 7:20 pm both the French and Northamptonshires began their counter-attack. The objective of the Battalion was the sunken road running north of the village to Hangard Wood about 1,500 yards away. There was considerable enemy opposition from their artillery and more casualties were taken and as they passed a mound of straw that was burning this outlined their advance to the enemy and they moved toward the Battalion to a copse of trees and brought machine-gun fire onto the Battalion. The Battalion was now within 50 yards of their objective and now heavy and severe shell fire and machine-gun fire halted the advance and their objective the sunken road was now heavily enfiladed by enemy fire and a line was taken up short of this point and they dug themselves in and held this position until relieved.
This was the situation in which Lieutenant Hall and his comrades found themselves and it was during this bloody and bitter day of fighting where he lost his life in action performing his duties.