Military Hero Gets Highway Sign in His Honour
The province today, Nov. 10, named a connector road in
Hantsport in honour of African Nova Scotian William Hall, the first recipient
from the province, and first African Canadian, to receive the Victoria Cross
medal for bravery.
Premier Darrell Dexter unveiled the William Hall V.C. Memorial Highway sign at a ceremony at Province House. The sign, bearing Mr. Hall's likeness, will be erected on the road from Highway 101 to Trunk 1 near Hantsport.
"Today, during the week of remembrance of those war heroes who fought and died for our liberty, we honour one of our own military heroes," said Premier Dexter. "Mr. Hall holds a special place in the province's and the country's history. He was the first Nova Scotian and the first African Canadian to receive this award and deserves to be celebrated for his courage."
Born in 1827, Hall worked in shipyards in Hantsport as a young man, building wooden ships for the merchant marines. He later crewed on a trading vessel and travelled the world before his 18th birthday. While in England in 1852, he enlisted in the Royal Navy as an able seaman.
While sailing to China, his ship was ordered to assist British troops who had lost the fort at Lucknow, India, during the Indian mutiny against the British in 1857. Mr. Hall was one of the last men standing and he kept firing his gun, finally breaking a hole into the wall of the fort that allowed troops to enter and regain it. For this act of bravery, he received the Victoria Cross, the highest medal given in the British Commonwealth.
Mr. Hall lived the rest of his life in Nova Scotia and is buried in Hantsport. His grave is recognized by a monument at the nearby Baptist church.
The government of Nova Scotia retrieved Mr. Hall's Victoria Cross medal from Britain in 1967. It is on permanent display at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax. During African Heritage Month 2010, Canada Post honoured Mr. Hall by issuing a commemorative stamp with his likeness.