According the the Register of Soldiers’ Effects, Driver Francis Hall, Royal Field Artillery, died on 23rd February 1917 at Frensham Hill Military Hospital, Farnham, Surrey. He is buried at St Swithin’s Church, Barston. He was 19 years old, and was the first of two brothers to be killed in the war.
He was born in Barston in 1898, and was the fifth of eight children (five sons, three daughters) born to parents William (a waggoner on a farm) and Sarah Ann (née Prentice) who had married at St Alphege Church, Solihull in May 1888. William was born in Sheldon, whilst Sarah was from Barston. There were many members of the Prentice family in Barston and, in 1881, three-year-old Sarah was living next door to her first cousin once removed, William Prentice. Five of his 16 children served in the war, and two were killed in 1918.
William and Sarah set up home in Walsal End, Barston, and all of their children were born in the village. The family remained there until at least 1911. By 1939, William and Sarah had moved to Waste Lane, Balsall Common, and were living there with their two youngest daughters, Edith Sarah (1902-1988) and Esther Gladys (1907-1988).
We don’t know when Francis joined the Army but it seems that he didn’t serve overseas before his death, as there appears to be no medal index card listing his entitlement to campaign medals.
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Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
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