HALL, John Henry [of Farndon]

Private, 17th Btn., Sherwood Foresters

By George Harper

Private Hall is a prime example of the determination shown by so many men to enlist and ‘do their bit for King and country’ come what may.

He was an insurance agent with the Britannic Company in civilian life and lived with his wife Sarah Ann and four young children on Main Street, Farndon.

He was a prominent member of the Primitive Methodist Chapel. He was rejected for military service on health grounds since he suffered from varicose veins, but as a member of the St John Ambulance Corps he worked at the old Newark Hospital caring for wounded Belgian refugees who were victims of the German invasion.

Perhaps many men in that position would have accepted the situation but who knows what went on in john Henry’s mind? Was it the exploits of his brother who was cutting a dashing figure in the fighting? Was it the fact that so many men who appeared to be fit and healthy (even active servicemen in civilian dress who were on leave) were taunted with cowardice by young women who ought to have known better? Anyway, he had his varicose veins treated with a surgical operation and then enlisted at Newark and served with the 17th Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters.

He had a hard time during the war and was posted back twice to the UK for treatment – once with a gunshot wound to the knee and again with trench fever (a condition transmitted by body lice).

He was killed outright on the 15th September 1917 at the age of 36. The date suggests during the course of the Battle of Passchendaele (3rd Battle of Ypres) but I have not been able to confirm this. His body was never identified but like so many thousands of others his name appears on the memorial in Tyne Cot military cemetery.

His name also appears on the war memorial in St. Peter’s Church in Farndon, but erroneously he is recorded as being in the Royal Ambulance Corps.

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