The trooper who survived battle and wounds only to die of disease

First published in Family Memories by

BY no means all the 10 million military personnel who died during the First World War were killed on the battlefield, or even died from their wounds.

Many who survived the Hell of battle or recovered from severe injury, later fell victim to disease or illness. Such a fate befell Arthur William Hall, who before the war managed one of Worcester's best known butchers shops.

Arthur's story has been uncovered by Mrs Doreen Jones, of Crown Meadow, Lower Broadheath, who came across it while researching her family tree.

"Arthur was my uncle," she explained. "He was born at 6 Pitmaston Terrace, St John's, Worcester on December 1, 1890. He was the son of Thomas Richard Hall, who was also born in St John's, Worcester and his wife Bertha who was born in Ledbury, Herefordshire. He was the second son, having an older brother Thomas Richard born in 1889. He was baptised on February 12, 1891 at St John in Bedwardine Church, St Johns, Worcester.

"Arthur worked at a butchers shop, the London Central Meat Co, in St John's, where he was the manager. The head office of this company, I am told, was at the ice works in Bromyard Road, St John's, Worcester. Arthur married Annie Day, who was on the household staff of Laugherne House, Martley at St John's Church on June 24, 1915. However, they spent very little time together, because prior to his marriage Arthur had enlisted with the Worcester Yeomanry (The Queens Own Worcestershire Hussars). He was Trooper Arthur William Hall, rank Private and his number was 325605.

"I am not sure when Arthur left Worcester, but he embarked at Devonport with the first draft on October 23, 1915. They then disembarked at Mudros on November 6, 1915 and finally at Alexandria on November 30, 1915. A lot of his fellow soldiers were killed in action on April 23, 1916 and I think this is when Arthur sustained injuries and was captured by the Turks.

"He was among the small isolated garrison at Oghratine which had been ordered to protect a well-digging party of fifty unmounted engineers. At dawn on April 23, 1916, 3,000 Turks, including a machine gun battery of 12 guns, attached. The defending troops repulsed the first attack but were gradually forced back by the weight of the onslaught. The defenders' machine gun had been put out of action early in the engagement after all the gunners had been killed or wounded.

"The defenders formed a circle which became ever smaller as losses mounted. When the commanding officer Sir John Jaffey died, the enemy rushed in and the small number of survivors made prisoner. Arthur was injured and he was one of those captured by the Turks and taken as a prisoner of war to Angora in Turkey."

Then on September 15, 1917, Annie Hall received the news every soldier's family dreads.

Berrows Worcester Journal reported: "Mrs A Hall of 59 Lowesmoor has received official intimation of the death of her husband Trooper A.W. Hall, Worcestershire Yeomanry who died on May 8, 1917 from typhus while a prisoner of war at Angora Turkey. Before joining the Yeomanry he was manager of The London and Central Meat Company in St John's."

Arthur William Hall is remembered on the war memorial in St John's churchyard and every Remembrance Day, Mrs Jones places a poppy there in honour of her uncle and all the other brave men mentioned on it.


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