Able Seaman William Edward Hall
Born: April 28, 1821
Died: August 27, 1904
Place of Birth: Horton Bluff, Nova Scotia
William Hall was the first Nova Scotian to be awarded the Victoria Cross.
Not only that; he was also the first African Canadian to be awarded the Victoria Cross.
His parents had been slaves and escaped aboard a British ship bound for Nova Scotia.
Recorded events differ, but William Hall joined Nova Scotia's merchant marines when he was around 15 years old.
In 1852, while his trading ship was in England, he joined the Royal Navy as an Able Seaman.
For his efforts in the Crimean War, William Hall was given the Turkish War Medal and the British War Medal.
During the Indian Mutiny in 1858, he served on the HMS Shannon under the command of a Lieutenant T.J. Young.
The ship was ordered to take a gun brigade to help the British troops gain back a lost fort at Lucknow, India.
Hall volunteered to help move and man the guns that would be trying to break through a thick walled mosque that was used in defense of the fort.
Hall and Lieutenant Young were the last of the gun crews still left as all had been killed or wounded.
Under fire from the mosque, Hall continued to load and fire his heavy gun until a hole had opened in the wall allowing the troops to gain entrance and regain the fort.
The awards given to William Hall include the Victoria Cross, the highest medal given in the British Commonwealth.
For detailed research and more information, check out the following:
Mysteries of Canada
Nova Scotia Museum
Nova Scotia Archives
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Last Updated: January 6, 2017
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