Thursday, September 11, 2014

P12510 L/Cpl Charles Hall, Military Foot Police

Charles Hall was born in Fletching, probably in 1891 (but after the census was taken that year).  He appears on the 1901 census as a nine year old living at Station Cottage, Chailey with his family.  The household comprised Thomas Hall (head, aged 52, a railway plate layer), his wife Rhoda Hall (aged 47) and their four children: Rosey Hall (aged 12), Charles, George Hall (aged seven) and Harry Hall (aged three).  All three boys would later serve in the First World War.

Census returns for 1891 and 1881 reveal other Hall children as well: Elizabeth, aged 15 in 1891, another daughter – the name is difficult to decipher – aged 11 in 1891 and Annie Hall, aged four in 1891.  The 1881 census additionally notes John Hall, aged three.

The National Archives records two numbers for Charles Hall: 31581 with The Gloucestershire Regiment and P12510 with the Military Police.

According to Chailey Parish Magazine, as early as 1914 Charles Hall was serving his King and Country.  In October 1915 it records the fact that Pte C Hall is serving with the 1st Royal Sussex Regiment in India.  On the outbreak of war the battalion was already garrisoned in India at Peshawar and would remain in India for the duration of the war.

The 1911 census shows Charles serving with the 1st Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment as a 20-year old private soldier. Chailey is noted as his place of birth. At that time, the regiment was stationed at Rawalpindi in the Indian Punjab.

At some point however, Charles must have departed India and returned to England. He would either have been discharged and then re-enlisted or simply transferred. In any event, in January 1917, Chailey Parish Magazine notes that Charles Hall is now serving with the 7th Gloucestershire Regiment.

This battalion, formed at Bristol in August 1914, had landed at Gallipoli in July 1915 and would spend the rest of its war service in the east.  By the time Charles Hall joined, it formed part of the 39th Brigade in the 13th Division and was stationed at Mesopotamia.

In December 1917, Charles transferred again, this time to the Military Foot Police as a corporal.  His final entry in Chailey’s Parish Magazine in July 1919 notes, Hall, Corporal C, Military Foot Police. The medal roll for the British War and Victory Medal gives dates served overseas: 4th August 1916 to 11th November 1918.

This is not where the story ends. After the war, Charles remained with the Military Foot Police and served in Iraq, earning entitlement to the General Service Medal with the Iraq clasp. His records presumably still survive, lodged with the Ministry of Defence. Medal index cards courtesy of Ancestry.

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