Private John Henry Hall of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry

John Henry Hall was born in 1878 to John and Jane Hall in Billingborough, Lincolnshire. His father was a Yorkshireman from Barnetby and he was a bricklayer and labourer. John Henry had a younger sister, Fanny, and a brother Sammy who was two years older. All the children were born in Billingborough like their mother.

By 1891, when John Henry was 12, his mother had died and the family appears to have been split up. He was living with his father and brother as boarders in the house of George Malton, Parish Clerk, in Low Street, Billingborough. But on the night of the census Fanny is not listed at this address so she may have gone to live with other relatives on her mother’s death. John Henry senior was working at this time as an agricultural labourer so it does seem as though the family had had quite a change in fortune.

In 1901, at age 22, John Henry had left home and was working as a railway porter and living in Normanton. He was lodging in the house of Charles Lewis, a 62 year old widower who also worked on the railway, as a platelayer. Also living there was Charles’ daughter, Isabella Lewis who John Henry married in 1902. They had two children, Harold Lewis and Fanny Jane, both born in Normanton. The family eventually moved to Cleveland Street in Doncaster where John Henry was employed by the Highways Department of the Corporation, working as a general labourer. Their third child, John, was born in 1908.

John joined the army in July 1916 and served in the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, (K.O.Y.L.I.) throughout his military service, starting with the 3rd battalion.

His record shows that during his service he was ranked as a Musketry 2nd Class shot and that he passed out in Bombing, Lewis Gun, Wiring and Rifle Grenades.

He saw active service with the 9th and 10th Battalions and was wounded on 4/10/17 and taken to the No1 Canadian General Hospital in Etaples. He had a muscle penetrating wound in his right thigh and an x ray showed shrapnel in his shoulder. On entry to the hospital his card notes he was “cleaned up and redressed”.

He was soon in action again, transferring to the 1st Battalion on 16/10/18, and staying with them until his demobilization in February 1919.

He was due £31 4s 9d on demob, which included £14 War gratuity and £2 12s 6d for plain clothes. He seems to have been a prudent man as he arranged for his £14 war gratuity to be paid into his savings account. The rest was paid in 3 weekly instalments by postal draft. Despite the receipt for his belongings showing that it was deficient by 1 water bottle and an entrenching tool head, there was no deduction made from his pay for these items.

He was classed medically as Grade A and perhaps he returned to his job in Doncaster. We have a letter, sent to the Labour Exchange in Doncaster on 28/1/1919, declaring that prior to the 4th August 1914 he was in the employ of the Highways Department and that the Acting Borough Surveyor is prepared to offer him employment as a labourer on his return to civilian life.

At present we have no further information on what happened to John Henry after 1919, though we do know that Isabella died in 1937, her death being registered in the district of Northallerton, North Yorkshire.

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