William Hall
Victoria Cross

Lucknow   November 1857

Photographs of

Hants County
Nova Scotia

Located at the intersection of Main and Willow Streets

GPS location:   45°03'51"N   64°10'51"W

Hantsport: William Hall monument

Photographed on 8 October 2002

Hantsport: William Hall monument

Photographed on 8 October 2002

Hantsport: William Hall monument

Photographed on 8 October 2002

Hantsport: William Hall monument

Photographed on 8 October 2002

Victoria Cross commemorative stamp, 2004

Victoria Cross commemorative stamp, 2004

Pane title, William Hall commemorative stamp 2010

Title, pane of William Hall commemorative stamps
Black History Month, 2010

William Hall commemorative stamp pane 2010

Pane of sixteen William Hall commemorative stamps
Black History Month, 2010

William Hall commemorative stamp 2010 - upper left corner of pane

William Hall commemorative stamp
Black History Month, 2010
Upper left corner of pane

William Hall commemorative stamp 2010 - lower left corner of pane

William Hall commemorative stamp
Black History Month, 2010
Lower left corner of pane

William Hall commemorative stamp 2010 - upper right corner of pane

William Hall commemorative stamp
Black History Month, 2010
Upper right corner of pane

William Hall commemorative stamp 2010 - lower right corner of pane

William Hall commemorative stamp
Black History Month, 2010
Lower right corner of pane


Medal entitlement of:

Petty Officer William HALL
Royal Navy ( Naval Brigade )
•  Victoria Cross
•  Crimea Medal ( 1854-56 )
•  2 clasps: “Inkermann” - “Sebastopol”
•  Indian Mutiny Medal ( 1857-58 )
•  2 clasps: “Relief of Lucknow” - “Lucknow”
•  Turkish Crimea Medal ( 1855-56 )

Engraving on reverse of Victoria Cross:
16 NOV.

Source: http://www.victoriacross.org.uk/puhallw.htm

Military Hero Gets Highway Sign in His Honour

Premier's Office, Halifax, Nova Scotia
November 10, 2010  9:54am

The province today, Nov. 10, named a connector road in Hantsport in honour of African Nova Scotian William Hall, the first recipient from the province, and first African Canadian, to receive the Victoria Cross medal for bravery.

Premier Darrell Dexter unveiled the William Hall V.C. Memorial Highway sign at a ceremony at Province House.  The sign, bearing Mr. Hall's likeness, will be erected on the road from Highway 101 to Trunk 1 near Hantsport.

"Today, during the week of remembrance of those war heroes who fought and died for our liberty, we honour one of our own military heroes," said Premier Dexter.  "Mr. Hall holds a special place in the province's and the country's history.  He was the first Nova Scotian and the first African Canadian to receive this award and deserves to be celebrated for his courage."

Born in 1827, Hall worked in shipyards in Hantsport as a young man, building wooden ships for the merchant marines.  He later crewed on a trading vessel and travelled the world before his 18th birthday.  While in England in 1852, he enlisted in the Royal Navy as an able seaman.

While sailing to China, his ship was ordered to assist British troops who had lost the fort at Lucknow, India, during the Indian mutiny against the British in 1857.  Mr. Hall was one of the last men standing and he kept firing his gun, finally breaking a hole into the wall of the fort that allowed troops to enter and regain it.  For this act of bravery, he received the Victoria Cross, the highest medal given in the British Commonwealth.

Mr. Hall lived the rest of his life in Nova Scotia and is buried in Hantsport.  His grave is recognized by a monument at the nearby Baptist church.

The government of Nova Scotia retrieved Mr. Hall's Victoria Cross medal from Britain in 1967.  It is on permanent display at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax.  During African Heritage Month 2010, Canada Post honoured Mr. Hall by issuing a commemorative stamp with his likeness.

—  Source: Nova Scotia Government press release

Maritime Museum Celebrates Nova Scotian on Canada Day

Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, Halifax, Nova Scotia
June 30, 2010  2:37pm

The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is celebrating Canada Day with activities and a new display about an historic Nova Scotian.

The museum's navy gallery will unveil a new addition to its collection on Thursday, July 1, the Victoria Cross awarded to William Hall, the first African Nova Scotian to receive that honour.  The artifact is part of an updated gallery exhibit coinciding with Canadian Navy's centennial.

"Mr. Hall's story is an important part of Nova Scotia's history and Canada Day is a perfect time to learn more about his contribution to our military heritage," said Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage Percy Paris.  "Nova Scotia's provincial museums bring our history and culture alive and make life better for families in every region."

Able-seaman William Hall was born near Hantsport in 1827.  After serving on merchant ships, he joined the British Royal Navy in 1852.  In 1857, while serving aboard HMS Shannon, Mr. Hall was part of the relief force sent to Lucknow, India, where mutineers had besieged the British garrison.  All the naval gunners on board were killed except an injured naval lieutenant and Mr. Hall, who continued to load and fire his gun until the fortress fell.  He was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1859 for his gallant conduct.

The museum will be open July 1 from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  Families can enjoy crafts all day long, dress up in costumes, practice knot-work activities and participate in a pirate scavenger hunt...

—  Source: Nova Scotia Government press release

Admiral H.F. Pullen’s effort
to preserve Hall legacy
deserves a medal

links to relevant websites

The Register of the Victoria Cross

The Victoria Cross is by far the world's most coveted medal for bravery. Cast in bronze from the cannons captured at Sevastopol in the Crimean War (1853-1856), the Victoria Cross retains a mystique that no other decoration has ever achieved.  Although instituted more than a century ago and spanning the four most terrible wars in Britain's history, it has been awarded to only 1350 men, three of whom have won it twice, plus one more for the American Unknown Warrior, who lies buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, as a symbol for all those who died in the Allied cause.  The British Unknown Warrior, who was buried in Westminster Abbey, received the Congressional Medal of Honor from the United States Government.  He was not awarded the Victoria Cross...

William Hall by Wikipedia

William Hall V.C. by Canada Post

William Hall clippings mostly from the Berwick Register

A letter in the Toronto Globe and Mail, 14 September 1938, calls attention to the fact that August 25th is the anniversary of the death of the only Canadian-born negro to be awarded the Victoria Cross for valor in battle, and to the lamentable fact that his grave is not marked.

Map showing location of Lucknow

History of the Brigade of Gurkhas

In the Indian Mutiny of 1857-1858 the 2nd Goorkhas showed striking proof of their loyalty at Delhi where, together with the 60th Rifles (now part of The Rifles), they held Hindu Rao's house, the key to the British position which was under continuous fire from the mutineers, for over three months.  During this period the 2nd Goorkhas suffered 327 casualties (including 8 of their 9 British Officers) out of a total strength of 490.  Also during the mutiny, 12 Nepalese Army Regiments, a force of 8,000 men under the personal leadership of the Prime Minister of Nepal, took part in the final relief of Lucknow...

references, ink-on-paper

Many excellent books have been published
on the subject of the Indian Mutiny of 1857.
A few are mentioned below:

Devil's Wind: The Story of the Naval Brigade At Lucknow by Major-General G.L. Verney,
176 pages, published 1956 by Hutchinson & Company, London, England

The Indian Mutiny of 1857 by Colonel G.B. Malleson, 421 pages, published 1892;
facsimile edition published 1993 by R.J. Leach Company, London, England

Kaye's and Malleson's history of the Indian mutiny of 1857-8, Volume 4 published 1889, by Sir John William Kaye and George Bruce Malleson
Google Books

Battles of the Indian Mutiny by Michael Edwardes, 216 pages, published 1969
by Macmillan Company, New York

Lahore to Lucknow: Journals of Arthur Moffet Lang edited by David Bloomfield, 192 pages, published 1991 by Leo Cooper Books, London, England; based on the Diaries of Arthur Lang, an officer in the Bengal Engineers during the Indian Mutiny.  Lang played a vital role in the siege of Delhi and was three times recommended for the Victoria Cross.  He was also at the recapture of Lucknow.  He was the only Engineer Officer who took part in all the main battles of the Mutiny.

The Wayback Machine has archived copies of this document:
William Hall, Able Seaman, Royal Navy

Archived: 2001 May 28

Archived: 2002 February 08

Archived: 2003 August 27

The Siege of Lucknow, 1857

Lucknow, population about two million people in 2002, is the capital of Uttar Pradesh state, in north central India, on the Gomati River. Lucknow was the capital of the kingdom of Oudh from 1775 to 1856, and then of Oudh province.  Lucknow is chiefly notable in the history of British India as the capital of the nawabs who had dealings with Warren Hastings, and their successors the kings of Oudh, whose deposition by Lord Dalhousie was one of the chief causes of the Mutiny.  Amongst the events of the Mutiny the defence of the residency of Lucknow comes second in historic interest, after the massacre at Cawnpore.  The Indian Mutiny broke out in 1857 and it rapidly became the greatest of all the imperial wars.  Lucknow suffered heavy casualties during a siege, June to November 1857.  If Delhi was the symbolic centre of the Mutiny, and Cawnpore provided its most horrific episode, it was Lucknow that caught the imagination of the British public and became, perhaps, the most well-known action of all Britain's 19th century wars.  It had all the dramatic elements of a siege and even better, a happy ending.  It became indeed a paradigm for later British colonial conflicts.  There were the initial reverses, the spectacle of the 'thin red line' battling against overwhelming odds, heroism in the face of adversity, the stoicism of the ladies living in appalling conditions, the death of a gallant commander, finally the sound of bagpipes on the wind and a relief column marching into the British position with flags flying and kilted highlanders leading the way...

The Wayback Machine has archived copies of this document:
The Siege of Lucknow, 1857

Archived: 1999 November 03

Archived: 2000 May 10

Archived: 2001 June 30

Archived: 2002 October 24

Archived: 2003 April 04

Archived: 2004 August 22

Archived: 2005 May 16

The Wayback Machine has archived copies of this document:
The Siege and Relief of Lucknow

British Army History

Archived: 2004 July 19

Archived: 2004 November 29

Archived: 2005 March 24

Archived: 2005 August 16

Archived: 2006 January 29

Archived: 2006 May 22

Effort to preserve Hall legacy

Photographs of War Memorials, Historic Monuments and Plaques in Nova Scotia

Hantsport war memorial Hantsport war memorial

Hants County war memorial Hants County war memorial Windsor

Brooklyn war memorials Brooklyn war memorials Brooklyn

Veterans Memorial View Park Veterans Memorial View Park Avonport

Wolfville war memorial Wolfville war memorial

Acadia U. Memorial Gym Acadia U. Memorial Gym Wolfville

Kentville Legion war memorial Kentville Legion war memorial Kentville

Kentville Memorial Park Kentville Memorial Park Kentville

Sheffield Mills war memorial Sheffield Mills war memorial Sheffield Mills

Canning war memorial Canning war memorial

Monument: 1747 Attack at Grand Pre Monument: 1747 Attack at Grand Pre Grand Pre

Falmouth: Sainte-Famille Parish Cemetery Sainte-Famille Parish Cemetery Falmouth

Sir Robert Laird Borden monument Sir Robert Laird Borden Monument Grand Pre

Abraham Gesner monument Abraham Gesner Monument Chipman Corner

Robert Christie plaque Robert Christie plaque Windsor

Go To:   Nova Scotia History, Chapter One

Go To:   Nova Scotia Historical Biographies

Go To:   Proclamations: Land Grants in Nova Scotia 1757, '58, '59

Go To:   Statutes of Nova Scotia, 1805, edited by Richard John Uniacke

Go To:   Nova Scotia Quotations

Go To:   History of Electric Power Companies in Nova Scotia

Go To:   History of Automobiles in Nova Scotia

Go To:   History of Railway Companies in Nova Scotia

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First uploaded to the WWW:   2002 October 13
Added 2004 stamp:   2007 February 28
Added 2010 stamp:   2010 March 30
Latest update:   2013 January 13