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08 August 2010

Trooper Albert Ernest Hall of Blackwood

Bert Hall was born in Coromandel Valley in 1887. He was the only son of James and Minnie Hall, and the family lived at 'Wardlowvale' near Blackwood immediately before the war. The family were active in the Coromandel Valley Methodist Church.

Bert was working as a mason, mostly in the Strathalbyn area, when he enlisted on 30 December 1915, and he was allocated to the 15th reinforcements to the 9th Light Horse Regiment. He embarked with the rest of those reinforcements on the 'Anchises' in March 1916 and was taken on strength of the 3rd Light Horse Training Regiment in Egypt the following month.

In September 1916 he was detached to the Imperial Camel Corps. In November 1916 he was allocated to No. 1 Company of the 1st ANZAC Battalion of the Imperial Camel Corps. While Bert was with the battalion it took part in the battles of Magdhaba and Rafa, and the three battles of Gaza. Bert spent a month in hospital in November 1917 with a fever and again in May 1918 with malaria. He went to the Light Horse depot in July 1918 when the Camel Corps was reorganised, and rejoined the 9th Light Horse Regiment in September 1918. He was with the 9th during the captures of Jenin, Sasa and Damascus just prior to the Turkish surrender. He was admitted to hospital again with malaria in February 1919 before shipping home. He was discharged in Adelaide in October 1919 and gave his address as Blackwood.

After his discharge he lived a reserved life. He suffered from asthma, and in the latter years of his life found relief by sleeping on an open verandah. He worked on the family property, milking cows, separating the milk, seeing to the poultry and attending to the garden.
During the Second World War he met and married an attractive woman, Elsie Daniels, who had two daughters from a previous marriage. The marriage did not last, and Bert moved back to the family home, which still stands.

Bert Hall died in 1962 at the age of 75 at the Blackwood Private Hospital and was buried with his parents in Coromandel Valley cemetery. His name is inscribed on the Blackwood Soldiers Memorial, the Coromandel Valley War Memorial and the Coromandel Valley Methodist Church Honour Roll displayed in the Blackwood and Community RSL.