James Hall (British Army soldier)

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James 'Jack' Hall DCM, MM (1893-1968) was a British soldier in the Green Howards Regiment from the North East mining town of Murton, County Durham.

James was born on 26 January 1893 and died on 17 March 1968 at the age of 75. Prior to his service in the Green Howards regiment, he was employed as a coal miner. Members of his family have speculated that perhaps he joined the army as a means of escaping from the dangers of life in the coal mines.

He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for bravery during fighting near the French town of Armentieres. On 19 December 1915, the Green Howards were facing heavy bombardment from German artillery, see History of 10th Battalion Green Howards As a result of this shell fire a wall collapsed, burying two soldiers. Despite being under fire from the enemy, James dug out the stricken men, although one of the men rescued lost an arm in the incident.

In recognition of his bravery and for receipt of the Distinguished Conduct Medal, James was presented with an engraved cigarette case by the people of Murton village. This case, along with James' medals, and a strip of cloth from his uniform which contains a letter to his mother are currently on display at the Green Howards Museum in Richmond Yorkshire.

In addition to the DCM, James was also awarded the Military Medal. However, the records detailing the reasons for this award were lost during the blitz in World War II. What is known, is that at some stage in the war James suffered a shrapnel wound that caused him to lose part of his lung.

The only surviving picture of James Hall pictures him standing with his friend William McNally. McNally was a winner of the Victoria Cross and a resident of Murton.

James had four children; Jack, James, Mary and Irene. He is buried in the cemetery of St Joseph’s R.C. Church in the village of Murton.