William Hall, Rifleman 5312, 2nd Battalion, Rifle Brigade
Killed in action 9th May 1915 near Neuve Chapelle, France, aged 19
William Hall was born on 9 November 1895, the third son of Jane and Charles Hall, a bricklayer, of 48 Arbourhay Street, Macclesfield. In 1901 William, aged 5, was living at this address with his parents and siblings James (10), Annie (9), Charles junior (7), Emma (4) and Mary (2).
William was educated at Hurdsfield Boys School, attaining standard V, and in November 1908, whilst employed as a cotton weaver, he enrolled at the Macclesfield Technical School to further his education.
By 1911, William’s father had died and the family was living at 43 Commercial Road, Macclesfield. William, then aged 15, was employed as a silk worker.
William’s widowed mother married Thomas Kelley in Macclesfield in 1920, and the couple lived at 1 Loney Street, Macclesfield.
William joined the Army at Macclesfield in January 1914 and was drafted to France on 11 December 1914, sailing from Sheerness. He participated in the battle of Neuve Chapelle and was killed in action on 9th May 1915, while throwing a bomb into the German trenches. A comrade wrote:
“Although he was but a youngster, he was a little hero all through and knew no fear.”
Rifleman William Hall has no known grave and is commemorated on Panel ref. 10 on the Ploegsteert Memorial in Belgium. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Rifleman William Hall, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
In Macclesfield, Rifleman William Hall is commemorated on the Park Green, Town Hall and St George’s Church war memorials. The floral tributes laid when the Macclesfield Park Green War Memorial was unveiled on 21st September 1921 included one with the inscription “In loving memory of Rifleman William Hall, from mother, sisters, and brothers.”
Another Macclesfield man named William Hall died of pneumonia on 9th February 1919.