Alfred Edward Chester Hall

Information about birth

Date of birth:
Place of birth:
Chiswick, Middlesex, England, United Kingdom

General information


Army information

Canadian Expeditionary Force
Lance Corporal
Service number:
Enlistment date:
Enlistment place:
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
 —  Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Bellewaerde Ridge, Zonnebeke, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)


Distinctions and medals 3

Points of interest 3

#1 Place of birth
#2 Enlistment place
#3 Place of death (approximate)

My story

Alfred was born in Chiswick near London in 1879, the son of Edward and Ellen Mannering Hall. When the war broke out, Alfred had moved to Canada. He gave up his job as a grocer and enlisted in August 1914. Alfred had served five and a half years in the Royal Navy, including in 1901 on the H.M.S. Royal Oak in the Mediterranean. With his military experience, he was exactly what the Canadian army was looking for. He was taken on by the Princess Patricia’s Light Infantry, the last privately raised regiment in the British Empire. The Patricia’s were assigned to the 27th British Division.

In early April 1915, the Division relieved French troops around Polygon Wood, Zonnebeke, east of Ypres. During the Second Battle of Ypres, German attacks on their left flank, made their positions untenable. On 3 May, they were forced to move into new positions on the Bellewaerde Ridge. With the Germans on their tail, the new trenches were hurriedly thrown up. There was hardly any time to construct a parados or parapet. In early May 1915 the Germans launched a renewed attack on Ypres. The main blow was struck at the Patricia’s positions, near Bellewaerde. If the Germans broke through, the way to Ypres would lie open. From 4 to 8 May, shells rained down on the Patricia’s, but with the help of British reinforcements they maintained their position.

Nevertheless, 110 of the Patricia’s were buried together on the battlefield, close to the place where later a monument was erected in honour of the unit. In the chaotic early days of the war especially, the dead were often buried together in abandoned trenches or in shell holes. Alfred was among the fallen. The 21-year-old was killed on 8 May and buried at the positions on the Bellewaerde Ridge, along with 109 Patricias, who were all killed between 4 and 9 May 1915. Soon after, the ridge was lost to the Germans. Alfred’s sister Helen Louise was informed of his death. She was then working as a maid in Troon, Scotland.

The remains of the 110 Patricia’s were not identified and are remembered on the Menin Gate.

Files 1

Sources 8

Annette Simpson, Troon, Ayrshire Family History Society, personal communication, 19 januari 2023.
Sources used
Census Returns of England and Wales, 1881 (The National Archives, Kew (TNA), RG11).
Sources used
Census Returns of England and Wales, 1901 (The National Archives, Kew (TNA), RG13).
Sources used
Hodder-Williams R., Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry: 1914-1919. Volume I (Londen: Hodder and Stoughton, 1923) 50-57.
Sources used
Personnel Records of the First World War (Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (LAC) RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 3936 - 10).
Sources used
War diaries: Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (LAC), RG9-III-D-3, Volume number: 4911, Microfilm reel number: T-10703, File number: 346).
Sources used
War Graves Registers: Circumstances of Death (Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (LAC), RG 150, 1992-93/314; Volume Number: 188).
Sources used
War Graves Registry: Commonwealth War Graves (Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (LAC): RG150, 1992-1993/314, Box 39-244; Box: 75).
Sources used