Home Page Home Page Home Page
Born: 1894, Windhill
Died: 20 September 1917
Buried: Hodge Crater Cemetery
Address: 79 Leeds Road, Windhill
Parents: William & Ada, nee Sharp
Spouse: Mary, nee Edwards
Rank: Pte
Rolls of Honour: Christchurch, Windhill; Salts Grammar School
Regiment: 8 Yorkshire
John Herbert Lee Hall
John Herbert Lee Hall was the son of William Hall. William was born 1862 in Windhill. Working as a Professor of Music, William married Ada Sharp 21 June 1893 at St Stephen Burmantofts. John, an only child, was born 1894 in Windhill. The family lived at 79 Leeds Road in Shipley. In 1911 William was a piano dealer and John was a music student. John married Mary Edwards in 1915. John served as a Private (Signaller) with the 8th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. He died at Ypres 20
September 1917 and you can find his grave in the Hodge Crater Cemetery. On 5 October 1917, the Shipley Times & Express published: Windhill Primitive Methodism has suffered a serious loss by the death in action of Pte John H Hall of the Yorkshire Regiment. Born of a musical family and though but 23 years of age, he had done ten years’ service as organist for the Sunday School and in addition, for some time prior to joining the forces, he had held the appointment of church organist as well.
He was well-known throughout the district as a prominent member of the Church Institute Billiard Team, last year’s winners of the Brotherhood Billiard League trophy. A very promising career has been cut short almost at its start and his young widow and father and mother are assured of the heartfelt sympathy of numbers with whom he had endeared himself by his kindly and genial disposition. News has reached his people that he died valiantly doing his duty as a signaller to his battalion in the recent big advance. The deceased soldier’s wife has received the following letter from the Commander of the platoon: “I
very much regret having to inform you that your husband very gallantly lost his life in the recent action. “He only recently joined the Signal Section but nevertheless was one of the most capable men I had got and right up to the last was largely instrumental in keeping up the very essential communications without which the wonderfully successful attack which our own battalion made on 20th-22nd September might have come to nothing. “He was killed instantaneously by a shell without pain or even knowledge of imminent death coming to him. I assure you of my own and his comrades of the Signal Section’s deepest sympathy in your bereavement.”
Saltaire GS RoH Saltaire GS RoH Saltaire GS RoH
On 19 October, the newspaper published an unusually long report of a memorial service held for John A service was held at Windhill Primitive Methodist Church in memory of the late Pte J H Hall, formerly organist at that church and the son of Mr William Hall, organist at the Greengates Wesleyan Church. The service was conducted by the Rev L Robinson, Miss Clara Fortune of Silsden sang ‘O rest in the Lord,’ and the organist, Mr Arthur Hall, played the Dead March in Saul. A tribute to the late hero was paid by Mr Arthur Teale, late Sunday school superintendent, who for many years was a co-worker with the deceased. Mr Teale said that his duty was to pay tribute to the memory of one who for the past ten years had counted for much in the work of that church and Sunday school and who had a very warm place in the affections of every one of them. He wanted also to speak a word of comfort and hope in particular to those who because of the nearness of the relationship and the close ties of affection were feeling the severance so very acutely. His memory went back to his first associations with Windhill, to the time when he had on occasion to take the class in the Sunday school to which John Hall belonged. Shy and retiring The deceased was then a lad of somewhat shy and retiring disposition and altogether without those characteristics which predominate in most boys of that age. More studious than sport- loving, he was not, apparently at any rate, cut out for facing the rough and tumble of life and particularly of army life. Soon after that, when he was but 13 years of age, he was appointed to the play the harmonium in the Sunday School and from that time he seemed to grow more and more fully into the life and work of the school and church. No one could have been more loyal, more devoted to his task than he, none more ready to respond to any call to do any work he had the ability for than John. Later on – somewhere about two years ago – he was appointed a chapel organist and while he often remarked on his inability to do the duty as it ought to be done, no one could have striven harder to qualify himself and his earnestness made up very materially for what was lacking in experience. “As I think upon his life in general, Mr Teale went on, “certain things strike me forcibly in regard to him.” The first was has determination, coupled with his thoroughness. As he came to manhood his character broadened and deepened in just the same manner as his bodily frame did. He developed that square set of jaw that signified that when he said ‘no’ he meant ‘no.’ When he said ‘yes’ he went to his task with a thoroughness that assured those about him that
success was practically half attained at the outset. This was shown in all he undertook, both in his business and in every other walk of life and was exemplified in a striking manner when the call came for him to go into the army. Though altogether without the ‘military spirit’, those who knew him best knew that the thought of army was distasteful, yet again and again he spoke of his determination to join the forces and do his duty long before he really went and only claims at home kept him back. But once there he again showed his thoroughness and strove to make himself a soldier indeed. His officer’s testimony bears this out for in his letter giving news of his death, he said: “Though he only recently joined the signal section he was one of the most capable men I had got and right up to the last was largely instrumental in keeping up the very essential communications without which the wonderfully successful attack which our battalion made might have come to nothing.” He had fifteen months of army life, eight or nine of which were spent at the Front. During that time he went through some of the severest fighting our noble army has done until finally he met his death on 20th of last month. He was ever of a kindly and genial disposition and none came in touch with him without learning to respect him and those who came closest, loved him most. It is always possible to tell a good man by the way children go to him and John was ever a child’s friend. Murderous battle One thing his letters from France and Belgium have shown to us is that his personal religion, his relationship to Jesus Christ, became infinitely more precious, more real to him, while there. Just listen to an extract taken from a beautiful letter written home after he had gone through one of the most desperate engagements of the war. After expressing his abiding thankfulness at being brought safely through one of the most murderous battles of this seemingly endless war, and giving some of his impressions during the fight, which lasted on and off for five days, he said: “I thought of you dear ones and I prayed to God to just guide and guard me and, if it was His will, to bring me safely back, but if I fell, to comfort you dear ones and help you to endure your sorrow. “During a few minutes’ respite at the enemy’s third line and with shells dropping like hail, I pulled the little book of hymns and prayers out of my pocket which the minister gave me at Hornsea. I opened it anywhere and the hymn that first met my eyes was ‘How sweet the name of Jesus sounds.’ “Read the words through and you will realise how they comforted me. My life at home was a
long way from perfect but, please God, I mean to live for Him in the future. I feel that He has spared me for some purpose and I hope to be able to perform the same. Your prayers have been answered again and we must continue to put our trust in Him.” Repeatedly his letters spoke of the affection he had for the work he had been compelled to leave and again and again he wrote words liked these: “Wait until we all get back again and we’ll make things hum.” His heart was in every undertaking of this church and his place will be most difficult to fill. The truest measure of life is not by length of years and we do not measure our old friend’s life by its length but by its noble service. He indeed played a man’s part and died a hero’s death. Love of music May I remind you of the great love of music there was in the very nature of our brother? And where music is there cannot be much of sadness and I know if our friend could speak, he would call us to sing a joyous song to banish our sorrow and join with him in thanksgiving because he has reached his ‘Home, sweet home.’ But to us who are left to face added responsibilities the call comes to us to take up the work uncompleted by him. It may mean that each of us have to smile a little oftener as we tread the road of life. It may mean that we have to sing a little sweeter those songs that cheer and encourage when life’s road is dreary and the burden anything but light. I have said nothing about the noble service rendered to this church by the Hall family because I felt that John Herbert Hall needed no reflected glory and I appeal to you to answer the call that comes to each of us this morning and determine resolutely that the work in which he was so deeply interested and which is his master’s work, shall be continued. Christchurch RoH Christchurch RoH Christchurch RoH Men Who Served Home Page Men Who Served Home Page Men Who Served Home Page John at the back with his parents, William and Ada, and his wife Mary. Photo courtesy Diane Lee