Allan Gordon HALL
Rank: Major
Unit: C Battery, 210th Brigade ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY
Date of Death: 24 April 1918
Age: 30
Cemetery: Bienvillers Military Cemetery, Somme, France

Gordon Hall came from a successful middle class family which owned Kingston Mills in Hyde. His father, Allan Harrison Hall, had married Edith Annie Ward in 1887 in the Fylde area of Lancashire but they lived in Woodley at “Holly Bank”. Gordon is thought to have been their first son, born the following year. It’s not known how many other children they may have had. His early years were spent at a small boarding school at South Drive, St Anne’s on Sea. It’s thought he then joined the family business.

He worshipped at St Mark’s Church, Bredbury and had founded the local Company of the Church Lads’ Brigade. It is no surprise that, for a young man of this social background, when War was declared on 4 August 1914, he would quickly be selected to become an officer. In fact, his commission as a Lieutenant dates to only three days later. His unit was the East Lancashire Brigade of the Field Artillery. This was a pre-War Territorial unit and it is possible that Gordon was serving with it (perhaps as a 2nd Lieutenant). The Brigade left Britain for Egypt the following month as part of the Army’s 42nd Division. Most of the Division saw action at Gallipoli, but Gordon and his men remained in Egypt and he will not have seen action until the spring of 1917 when the Brigade had been transferred to France. Around this time there was a reorganisation of the Division’s artillery units which were also redesignated and Gordon found himself promoted to be one of the Captains in 210th Brigade.

At the beginning of 1918, he was awarded the Military Cross in the New Year’s Honours List. This was in recognition of generally gallant service rather than, as more usual, for a single act of particular bravery. The middle of April found the Brigade in the vicinity of the village of Gommecourt, scene of much heavy fighting during the Battle of the Somme in 1916. To their north, there was again very heavy and desperate fighting as the British tried to hold off an overwhelming German attack which lasted for several days. However, around Gommecourt, all was relatively calm. On 24 April, the Brigade was not in action and the entry in its War Diary is extremely brief, making no mention of what was happening on the day, but recording that Gordon had been killed. It will now probably never be known for certain what happened to him but it was likely to have been an “unlucky German shell” which killed him.

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