Hall: Arthur James
The son of Mark and Elizabeth Hall, Arthur James was born on 28th August 1890 at Coromandel Valley, South Australia.
After attending the local school, Arthur worked as a labourer prior to his enlistment. He had been a member of the Blackwood Rifle Club and also a member of the Blackwood IOOF Lodge.
Arthur enlisted at Oaklands, South Australia on 27th Nov 1914 as a member of the 4th Field Ambulance. He was 5’9” (175cm) tall, weighed 174lbs (79kg), had blue eyes, dark hair and was a member of Coromandel Valley Methodist Church.
He embarked for overseas service on the A50, Stronus on 15th February 1915 and arrived at Suez, Egypt in late March. The 4th Field Ambulance embarked from Alexandria on 22nd June 1915 where Arthur saw service throughout the remainder of that campaign.
He returned to Alexandria on Christmas Eve 1915 and remained in Egypt before embarking on 1st June 1916 for further service in the medical corps in France. His work as an Ambulance man included stretcher-bearer, assisting wounded at casualty clearing stations, treating wounded soldiers and bringing in wounded from positions exposed to the enemy. He did not carry a weapon.
In September 1916, Arthur was promoted to Lance-Corporal in the field. During 1917, his unit saw action in various theatres on the Western front including Bullecourt and Passchendaele. It was during one of these actions that he was awarded the Military Medal for Conspicuous Bravery in the field, being gazetted in December 1917.
Arthur was recognised as having leadership potential and was sent to the Cadet Training College in Britain in November 1917. On completion of his course in May 1918, he was promoted to being a 2nd Lieutenant and drafted as such to the 13th Battalion in France.
This battalion saw action in the battle for Hamel on 4th July 1918. This battle saw the emergence of Australian Field Marshall John Monash as an acclaimed leader; his methodical, detailed plans saw the battle concluded within 93 minutes.
Sadly amongst the casualties was 2nd Lieut. AJ Hall who was reported as killed in action by rifle fire, aged almost 28yrs. He was buried after the battle, but the site was lost and so he has no known grave.
When he died Arthur had been an officer for barely six weeks, which was the average lifespan for a 2nd Lieutenant on the Western Front.
His name is listed amongst the missing of the 13th Battalion on the Australian National War Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux, France. His medals and Memorial plaque were sent to his father in 1921-22.
Arthur J Hall is listed on the Roll of Honour of Coromandel Valley Public School and the War Memorial.
Research by Geoff Lock, 2015