Andrew Leo Hall was born in Stellarton, NS, the son of Frank and Clara Hall. Andrew was living in Westville, NS, when he enlisted in the 193rd Battalion (Nova Scotia Highlanders) on February 24, 1916. His attestation papers have him listed as a clerk, and his birth date as November 12, 1898, which would make him 18 years old. In actual fact he was only 16 years old at the time. It appears he falsified his birth date in order to enlist early. 1901 and 1911 Canadian Census records both show his birth year as 1900. Upon enlistment, his rank was private and his service number was 901253. A little over a year earlier, Andrew’s father, Frank, had enlisted in the 17th Battalion (Nova Scotia Highlanders) and was already overseas. Frank later served in the Canadian Military Police.
Andrew trained with the 193rd Battalion in the local area for a couple of months until the battalion relocated to Aldershot, NS, later in the spring. There they joined the other three battalions of the newly formed Nova Scotia Highland Brigade, and training continued. In October, 1916, Andrew sailed with his battalion, and the rest of the brigade, to England on the RMS Olympic, the sister ship of the Titanic. Upon arrival, the brigade entrained for Witley Camp, a large Canadian army camp in Surrey.
Shortly after arriving in England, the Nova Scotia Highland Brigade was dissolved and two of its battalions, including the 193rd Battalion, were disbanded. The intention was to use its cadre of men as reinforcements for units already at the front. As a result, on December 29, 1916, Andrew was transferred to the 185th Battalion (Cape Breton Highlanders) who were also at Witley Camp. A little over a year later, when the 185th Battalion was also disbanded, Andrew was transferred to the 17th Reserve Battalion located in Bramshott, England. He joined that unit on February 23, 1918. On July 11, 1918, Andrew proceeded overseas to France for service with the 85th Battalion (Nova Scotia Highlanders) where he joined them in the field the following month.
In late August and early September, 1918, the 85th Battalion was involved in a major Canadian attack to penetrate a section of the German Hindenburg defensive line east of Arras in France. The first stage of the attack was called the Scarpe Operation, named after the nearby Scarpe River. It was during this operation, on September 2, 1918, that Andrew was wounded in both arms and hands. A few days later, due to the severity of his wounds, surgeons were forced to amputate both of his arms, the right arm below the elbow, and the left arm above the elbow.
In this attack, the 85th Battalion lost 260 men, killed, wounded or missing in action, almost a third of their strength.
In an article he wrote in 1999, with information from The Law Society of Saskatchewan and from Mary (Hall) Totten, a niece of Andrew Hall, local historian Hugh Muir of Stellarton picks up Andrew’s story:
After much painful medical treatment in field hospitals at the battlefront and then in England, Andrew was repatriated to Canada. What followed in Canada was intensive physiotherapy and the fitting of artificial limbs. He was treated at veterans’ hospitals in Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario.
Operating under this great physical handicap and with a very limited primary education, Andrew decided to go west to Saskatchewan to complete his education. He completed grades 8 to 10 and then went on to Regina College in 1924. While attending Regina College, he met Kathleen Craven of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. They married in 1927. From here Andrew went to the University of Saskatchewan and graduated with a law degree in 1931. His wife also graduated with an arts degree the same year. He began the practice of law with the firm of Estey and Moxen in Saskatoon. He stayed until 1936 when he moved to Regina and began his own practice. In February, 1940, he became the Secretary Treasurer of the Law Society of Saskatchewan and their Collegiate Board Trustee. On July 12, 1941, Andrew was appointed Law Officer in the Attorney Generals Department for the Province of Saskatchewan. On May 6, 1947 he was appointed Kings Counsel.
Andrew had not forgotten his fellow veterans and become active in the Canadian Legion. He was an executive member and served as President of Branch 001, Regina, in 1946.
He was also chairman of the War Amputees of Canada, Dominion Representative for the Province of Saskatchewan on the War Amps board, and was the first Saskatchewan amputee to be awarded their Meritorious Service Award.
During the Second World War, Andrew was an inspector in the Saskatchewan Veterans’ Civil Security Corps in Regina. He also became a member of the United Services Institute.
Andrew Hall died suddenly and unexpectedly on October 28, 1953. He was 53 years old. In paying tribute to him, Mr. J.W. Corman, Q.C., Attorney-General of Saskatchewan said, “He was a fine citizen and a true friend. Andy bore cheerfully the crippling marks of the First World War.”
Andrew Hall was given a full military funeral and was laid to rest in Regina Cemetery, Regina, Saskatchewan.
Thanks to Hugh Muir for allowing medals, insignia and photos to be copied for this profile and for allowing access to his own short history of Andrew Hall.