Harry Ernest Hall – War Casualty

Harry Ernest Hall is second cousin, thrice removed. He was born circa 1896 in Barnsley and according to the 1911 Census was a Coal Agent’s Clerk and lived at 22 Queens Road, Barnsley. Special thanks are owed to Trevor Higgins for writing the following text:-

Harry was a member of the 13th Btn York and Lancaster Regiment, the ‘Barnsley Pals’, which was part of the 31st Division, engaged in offensive operations in the Artois region of France, and more specifically to the east of Arras.

Oppy Wood and village were held by the Germans who would not give up the area, even after several bloody engagements which began on the 3rd May 1917. The casualties to both armies were costly, when they were engaged in the exchange of artillery barrage, and attacks and counter attacks by infantry.

On the 28th June at 7.10 pm, the 12th, 13th and 14th battalions of the York and Lancasters, together with the East Lancashire Regiment, launched an attack on Oppy Wood. A creeping barrage preceded the troops which was devastating on the Germans. The 14th on the right, and the 12th to their left, achieved their objectives with very few casualties. The East Lancashires met their objectives with losses of 10 killed and 74 wounded. The 13th 2 killed and 36 wounded. The wood was captured, and with attacks on Oppy village to the rear, the whole was a complete success.

Because the battle was over before midnight, we can presume Harry was one of the wounded, dying on the 29th. Other information suggests he was buried near the battle site, and re-interred within St Catherines Cemetery after the Armistice. St Catherines is situated in a suburb of Arras, and contains 339 soldiers.

This is a revised version of a post which was originally published on my WordPress Blog on 15/01/2010 and republished on Mollekin Portalite on 10/05/2011.