Harold HALL

Harol HallHarold Wesley Hall was born in South Yarra, Victoria, Australia on 27 Nov 1888. The first son of Thomas Skarratt Hall and his wife, Jane Kirk.

After spending some time at a public school in Bournemouth, which his two brothers Walter and Athelstan also attended, Harold became a cadet at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst.

He was promoted from Gentleman Cadet to Second Lieutenant in the 2nd Dragoon Guards, Queens Bays, on 27th January 1909. Further promotion to Lieutenant followed on 11th October that year.

He qualified as an aeroplane pilot 15th October 1912, flying a Bristol monoplane at Larkhill on Salisbury Plain. The picture above is taken from his Royal Aero Club certificate, issued on that date.

In June 1913 the Dundee Evening Telegraph reported that:

A charge of attempting to bribe the police was heard Woking (Surrey) Police Court against Lieutenant Harold Wesley Hall, an officer of the Queen's Bays, who last Saturday was fined £5 for exceeding the speed limit in a motor car. Police-Sergeant Hornett said the defendant’s car was travelling at about 35 miles an hour when he stopped it. When told the estimated speed the defendant asked him if he could not reduce it a little, as he had two previous convictions and it might make a difference to his licence. He slipped half a sovereign into the [policeman's] hand. … He gave the sergeant the money to get a drink. It was not intended as a bribe. The bench ... dismissed the case.

This misdemeanour doesn't seem to have been held against Harold, as the same month he was promoted to Captain.

After the outbreak of war, the Thetford and Watton Times of Saturday October 12th, 1914 reported:

East Anglians on Active Service

A worthy example has been set the young men of this small village by the three sons of Mrs T S Hall of Weeting Hall, as they have all joined the colours.

  • Capt Harold Hall 2nd Dragoon Guards (Queens Bays)
  • Lieut Walter Hall 20th Hussars
  • 2nd Lieut Athelstan Hall Western Cable Company

On January 9th 1915, the Thetford & Watton Times reported

This week Captain Harold Hall and his brother Lieut. W D Hall have been at the Hall [Weeting], home from the fighting line. Several of the Weeting young men who are in training have also been on leave.

Returning to France, Harold appears to have involved in quite a lot of action, for he was "Mentioned in Dispatches" on 14th January, 17th February and for a third time on 18th June 1915. He was awarded the Military Cross on 23rd June 1915.

On August 7 1915 the Thetford & Watton Times recorded:

Captain Harold Hall has again been Mentioned in Dispatches and has had conferred upon him the Distinguished Service Medal.

Following the cessation of hostilities, Harold was awarded the Croix de Guerre on 29th January 1919.

In 1930 Major Hall was credited as one of the authors of a two volume work "A history of the Queen's Bays (The 2nd Dragoon Guards)". During the 1930's Harold became a competitive sail-boat racer, with his name frequently listed amongst the winners in the Sports Reports of the Portsmouth Evening News.

With war once again looming, Major Hall was commissioned as a Flight Lieutenant in No 931 (Hampshire) (Balloon) Squadron of the Auxiliary Air Force on 30th March 1939. In the obituary to his mother published by the Somerset County Herald on Saturday 17th July 1943, Harold is given the rank Wing Commander

In the New years Honours List of 1952, Major Harold Wesley Hall, MC was awarded the OBE for services to the British Museum (Natural History). In the 1960's he paid for a number of bird collecting expeditions in his native Australia, intended to replenish the collection of the British Museum.

Harold died in 1974 in Hampshire.

1914 Star

Victory Medal

British War Medal

Military Cross

The information presented here has been derived from surviving public and military records as well as from contemporary press reports. We hope you find it of interest ‐ if you think we have made an error, or can add any further details, please get in touch.