An old photograph led to a family reunion at a Shipley exhibition to mark the centenary of the battle of the Somme. The photograph was of Charles Arthur Hall - one of the 19,240 British soldiers killed on the bloody first day of the battle - and his five children. Provided by his granddaughter, Christine Watson, the photograph appeared in a T&A article about the exhibition being staged by this website at Shipley Library. It was spotted by another granddaughter Barbara Cleghorn who sent it to her late sister Christine’s widower Martyn Roebuck in Edinburgh. He emailed the website to say the family had suffered further tragedy with the death of Charles’s widow Elizabeth just six years after he was killed on the battlefield. Their five orphaned children were taken in and brought up by Charles’s sister Louisa and husband Alf. On the opening day of the exhibition Christine Watson came with Margaret Palmer and Denise Barratt, daughter and daughter-in-law of Charles’s fourth child May. And by chance they arrived at the same time as Barbara Cleghorn who had brought a copy of the same photograph and was seeking further information about her grandfather. The relatives, who had not seen each other for some years, were reunited and a week later they returned to the exhibition along with Christine’s sister Jean Morris and Martyn Roebuck who had travelled down specially from Scotland to meet up with them all. *In another strange twist of fate, during the first re-union Barbara Myers-Sleight happened to approach the group and within a few minutes she and Margaret realised they were old friends who had not seen each other since school days
Re-united in memory of Charles Arthur Hall
Left: Reunion: L-R Harry & Barbara Cleghorn (dtr of Charles Arthur jnr), Martyn Roebuck (son in law of Charles Arthur jnr), Jean Morris and Christine Watson (daughters of Elizabeth), Margaret Palmer (daughter of May) Above: Denise (daughter in law of May). Barbara Myers- Sleight (childhood friend of Margaret)
Above: Charles Hall and his wife Elizabeth with their children: L-R Back: Eleanor, Elizabeth L-R Front: May, Charles; Louisa Right: Charles’s ‘Dead Penny’ medal
Charles Arthur Hall was born in Shipley in 1879, the tenth child of local plumber Joseph Hall and his wife Elizabeth who at the time of the 1881 census were living at Wycliffe Place, Shipley. Twenty years later, Charles was a 22-year-old bricklayer living with his widowed mother and three of his siblings in Newport Road Bradford and by the time of the 1911 census, he had moved to 31 Lower Fold, Eccleshill where he lived with his wife, Elizabeth, and their first three children. By the outbreak of the war, the family had grown to five children, Elizabeth, Eleanor, Charles jnr, May and Louisa. Charles snr fought for his country in the West Yorkshire Regiment and made the ultimate sacrifice at the Somme. He is remembered on the memorial at Holy Trinity Church, Idle
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