1–2 SEP 1918: World War I and Corporal (later Lieutenant) Arthur Charles Hall, 54th Battalion, originally from Nyngan, New South Wales, earns the Victoria Cross at Péronne. Arthur Hall was born on 11 August 1896 in Granville, Sydney to a livestock farmer and his wife. After attending school in Bathurst, he worked with his father on properties near Nyngan in New South Wales.
In April 1916, at the age of 19, Hall enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF). After training, he was posted to 54th Battalion, then serving on the Western Front in France.
He was wounded in late March 1917, within two months of arriving in France. Back in the front lines by late April, he saw action during the Battle of Bullecourt and later, during the second phase of the Battle of Passchendaele, in the Battle of Polygon Wood.
He was promoted to corporal after this latter battle. The battalion was involved in fighting on the Somme from early to mid-1918, including the Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux. It was then involved in the Hundred Days Offensive which began in August.
On 1 September 1918 at Péronne, Somme, Hall rushed a machine-gun post, shooting four of the enemy and capturing nine, with two guns. Continuously in advance of the main party, he personally led assault parties, capturing many small parties of the enemy and machine-guns.
On the morning of 2 September during a heavy barrage, he carried to safety a comrade who had been dangerously wounded and was in urgent need of medical attention.
It was for these actions that Hall was awarded the Victoria Cross.
Citation: “For most conspicuous bravery, brilliant leadership, and devotion to duty during the operations at Peronne on 1st and 2nd September, 1918. During the attack on the 1st September a machine gun post was checking the advance. Single handed [Corporal Hall] rushed the position, shot four of the occupants, and captured nine others, and two machine guns. Then crossing the objective with a small party, he afforded excellent covering support to the remainder of the company. Continuously in advance of the main party, he located enemy posts of resistance and personally led parties to the assault. In this way he captured many small parties of prisoners and machine guns. On the morning of the 2nd September, during a heavy barrage, he carried to safety a comrade who had been dangerously wounded and was urgently in need of medical attention, and immediately returned to his post. The energy and personal courage of this gallant non-commissioned officer contributed largely to the success of the operations, throughout which he showed utter disregard of danger and inspired confidence in all.”
After the Battle of St. Quentin Canal, Hall’s battalion amalgamated with the 56th Battalion in October 1918, becoming the 54th/56th Battalion. He was promoted to sergeant with this unit before being discharged from the AIF in August 1919. After the war,
Hall returned to the Nyngan district and purchased his own property, Gundooee station, for farming. He married in 1927.
During the Second World War, Hall served for a time as a lieutenant in a garrison unit but returned to farming sheep and cattle once his service was no longer required. Active in community affairs, he died in the district hospital on 25 February 1978, survived by his wife and four children. He is buried at St Matthew’s Church in West Bogan, while his Victoria Cross is displayed at the Australian War Memorial, in Canberra. More; http://ow.ly/RD5SG