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Geoffrey Hall

Rank: Lieutenant

Lifetime: 1897-1917

Lieutenant Geoffrey Hall MC of the 9th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers died on 20 November 1917 during the first day of the Battle of Cambrai. He has no known grave but is commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial. He was the son of Dr Edgar Atheling Hall and Mrs Ada Margaret Hall of Seacombe, Adelaide Road, Surbiton. He appears to the Geoffrey Hall commemorated on the war memorial in St Mark’s Church although, so far, it has not yet proved possible to discover his connection with the area.

He was baptised at St Mark’s Church, Surbiton on 27 October 1897. The record of his baptism gives his date of birth as 28 September 1897 and names his parents as Edgar Atheling and Ada Mary Hall. His father’s profession is given as “physician”.

Interestingly, given his middle name which sounds like a reference to Kingston’s Saxon heritage, Lieutenant Hall’s father is revealed to be of Australian origin in his 1901 Census entry. Edgar Atheling (54) describes himself as a “medical man”. His much younger wife, Ada Mary (34), came from Leamington, Warwickshire and was presumably a second wife given the couple had a 21 year old son, Edgar Atheling, a bank clerk born in Surbiton as well as Geoffrey (3).

Lieutenant Hall attended Aldwick Place School, Aldwick near Bognor where he is recorded as being in residence, aged 13, at the time of the 1911 Census. Thereafter, he was a pupil at Blundell’s School in Tiverton, Devon from May 1913 until Summer 1915 as a “Day Boy” from he age of 15.

Having left school, he obtained a commission in the Royal Fusiliers. The 9th Battalion was reasonably local. It was originally raised in Hounslow in 1915. he died on 20 November 1917 during the first day of the Battle of Cambrai whilst leading his men to the attack. The Battle of Cambrai involved an attack on the heavily defended Hindenberg Line using tanks rather than a preliminary artillery bombardment. Initially successful, the 9th Battalion suffered very heavy losses including Lieutenant Hall.

On 9 January 1918 he posthumously received an MC for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during an earlier action, presumably during the Battle of Passchendaele. The citation reads:

“He was left in charge of a few posts in the front line after it had been cleared for our artillery bombardment. The front line was heavily shelled throughout the day and the sentry posts several times buried. With great skill, however, he altered the disposition of our posts, thereby greatly reducing the number of casualties, and although himself buried earlier in the day, gallantly stuck to his post and maintained the morale of his men by his cheerfulness and complete disregard of danger.”

Probate was granted of his estate on 9 April 1918 which gives his home address at the date of his death as 6 Claremont Gardens so the link to South Teddington remains mysterious.

He is also commemorated on the Surbiton War Memorial and the war memorials in St Mark’s and St Andrew’s Churches in Surbiton and has an entry on the Kingston Online War Memorial.

The first phase of this Project is to gather information about the men commemorated on the Hampton Wick War Memorial who fought in the Great War, also known as World War I, WWI or the First World War.

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