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  • Buried in Blighty Valley Cemetery.
Person Details
Hucknall Torkard Nottinghamshire
George Richard Baker was the son of William and Mary Hall (née Northage). His father William Hall was born in Bedford in about 1861. His mother Mary was born in Pleasley Hill, Nottinghamshire, in 1861, the daughter of Samuel and Sarah Northage. William and Mary were married in 1885 (J/F/M Mansfield) and had seven children, James and Sarah born at Pleasley Hill and the five younger children at Hucknall Torkard: James Northage b. 1885 bap. Pleasley parish church 18 October 1885; Sarah Emma b. 1887 bap. Pleasley 17 April 1887; William b. 1890; George Richard Baker birth registered 1893 (J/F/M Basford); Harold b. 1895; Samuel b. 1897 and Mary b 1900. In 1891 William, a colliery labourer, and Mary were living in Pleasley Hill with their three children, James (5), Sarah (4) and William (under 1 year). Also in the household were three boarders, including Mary's brother, Thomas Woodward Northage (42), a farm labourer. Their five youngest children were born in Hucknall Torkard between 1890 (William) and 1900 (Mary), although in 1891 the family was living in Pleasley Hill. William and Mary were living at 19 Gas Hill, Pleasley Hill, in 1901 along with six of their children; Sarah (14) was living in Bedford with her paternal aunt Emma Woodcock and her husband Alfred. Sarah probably married William Spencer in 1907 (J/F/M Mansfield). The Hall family was still at Pleasley Hill in 1911; William was now working as a colliery banksman. All their children were in the home on the night of the census, including Sarah Hall (sic) described as their married daughter. James, William and George (18) were colliery banksman, Harold (15) and Samuel (13) were collier/drivers below ground and Mary was still at school. A report in the local paper of a memorial service for their son George in 1916 gave William and Mary's address as Mansfield Road, Pleasley, but they later lived at New Yard, Crow Hill, Pleasley Hill, Mansfield (CWGC).
1911 a colliery banksman. Member of St Barnabas Choir, Cadets and Bugle Band and a member of the St John's Ambulance Society.
01 Jul 1916
185077 - CWGC Website
Enlisted Mansfield
11th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
Enlisting September 1914, he was killed on the first day of the Somme and is buried in Blighty Valley Cemetery, Authuille Wood, France (grave ref. V.E.28). Battalions attacking Ovillers on 1st July 1916 had to cross 'Mash Valley' one of the widest expanses of No Man's Land (750 yards) along the entire Somme front. Today, looking from Ovillers Cemetery (German front line) towards distant houses (British front line) across open fields offering little cover, the magnitude of their task is still evident. 11th Battalion Sherwood Foresters' War Diary recorded: 'Casualties along the whole line were very heavy and a general attempt was made to crawl forward under intense machine gun and shrapnel fire, any available cover being made use of.... Lt Colonel Watson, walking diagonally across the front collecting men as he went gave fresh impetus to the advance by his personal example ... A third attempt, led by Captain C E Hudson*, to reach the German trenches by the sunken road on the right flank was made but... was brought to a standstill by heavy frontal and flank fire as they came over the brow of the hill in the last 80 yards. The casualties sustained by the battalion during the day amounted to 21 officers and 508 men. The strength of the battalion on entering the trenches on 26th June was 27 officers and 710 men.' 11th Bn Sherwood Foresters War Diary TNA WO95/21871(3). 125 men from 11th Battalion Sherwood Foresters were killed during the attack on Ovillers (CWGC Debt of Honour Register). *John Cotterill adds 'The man who brought the 11th Foresters out of action on 1 July and, one of the 6 unwounded officers, was Capt Edward Hudson who would go on to get a VC as CO of 11th Foresters on Asiago Plateau in Italy in 1918'. 2nd Battalion Middlesex Regiment suffered 264 fatalities during the same advance. Concerns of their CO Lieutenant Colonel Edward Thomas Falkiner Sandys DSO, a brave and well respected officer, that his battalion would be badly mauled crossing such an expanse of open ground with uncut wire an added hazard, did not impress his superiors. Sandys was wounded during the attack and evacuated to the UK. Depressed at the fate of so many men who had trusted him, Sandys shot himself in a London hotel room and died a few days later. 8th Division's Official History records a total of 5,121 casualties on 1st July 1916. Military Research by David Nunn
CWGC headstone personal inscription: 'Son of W&M Hall Pleasley, Notts. In the midst of life we are in death' His brother, James Northage Hall, served with the 1st Bn Lancashire Fusiliers (24111 Private) and was killed on 9 December 1915. (See record on this Roll of Honour) Mansfield Chronicle Advertiser. 20/07/1916: Driver GRB Hall service no 16346. The son of Mr And Mrs Hall of Mansfield Road, Pleasley. A member of St Barnabas church choir, cadets and bugle band. A member of St John's Ambulance. Enlisted September 1914 killed in action on 01/07/1916. Had sent his mother a beautiful card a few days before going into battle "God be with you 'til we meet again." Mansfield Reporter, 28 July 1916 (extract): ‘Pleasley Losses. At St Barnabas’s Church, on Sunday last, an impressive service was held in memory of Drummer Hall. There was a large congregation, the members of St John Ambulance Brigade being present. Buglers from Clipstone sounded the ‘Last Post’ and Mr Frogson played the ‘Dead March’ on the organ.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)
Remembered on


  • Buried in Blighty Valley Cemetery.
    George Richard Baker Hall - Buried in Blighty Valley Cemetery.
  • Photo taken from German machine gun positions (now Ovillers British Military Cemetery) showing the terrain over which 8th Division including 11th Sherwood Foresters (70th Brigade), advanced on 1st July 1916. Houses beyond the distant tree line now stand on the 1st July 1916 British line.
    Photo David Nunn - Photo taken from German machine gun positions (now Ovillers British Military Cemetery) showing the terrain over which 8th Division including 11th Sherwood Foresters (70th Brigade), advanced on 1st July 1916. Houses beyond the distant tree line now stand on the 1st July 1916 British line.