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Update on Supermanliness


Over the weekend I received an e-mail from the grandson of Lieutenant Cyrus Hall, whose WWI prisoner-of-war interrogation I shared here. Lieutenant Hall, a Canadian serving in the RAF, was captured following the crash of his aircraft in no man’s land in 1918. The documents I had access to (at the National Archive near Kew Garden) gave no indication of his eventual fate. His grandson sent me an obituary, indicating that he returned to Canada, had a successful career, and made a good contribution to the second war:

He flew with such famed aces as Nigger Horn [ed. his real nickname, apparently], Elliott White Springs, Jimmie McCudden, Billy Barker and of course the legendary Bishop against Baron Richthofen’s Flying Circus. He is mentioned in many books about those early flying days including Springs’ “Above the Bright Blue Sky” and Bishop’s biography, The Courage of the Early Morning”. In April, 1918 his SE 53 suffered engine failure and he was forced to land in no-man’s land where he waS taken prisoner. Wounded twice, he spent the remaining seven months of the war as a P.O.W. in Germany…

When hostilities again broke out in September, 1939, he immediately volunteered for active duty but was rejected at first because of a hearing disability. He then spent the first two months of the wa~ recruiting the Cameron Highlanders up to strength on his own time before being accepted for active duty with the rank of Major. His greatest disappointment was that he was not able to go overseas with his regiment because of his hearing problem. Thousands of Canadian servicemen who passed through the District Depot in Ottawa on their way to and from overseas will remember him as both 2nd in command and acting Officer Commanding at Lansdowne Park. Many enlisted men who served under him will remember the cigarettes and parcels that he sent to them overseas. Major Hall was one of the few soldiers in the Canadian Army who was priveleged to wear Royal Air Force Wings on his army uniform in World War II.

After the war, Mr. Hall rejoined the Government Annuities Branch, Ottawa, then in 1950 moved to Grimsby Beach vihere he and Mrs. Hall became fruit farmers. However, he retained his association with the Annuities Branch and worked out of both the St. Catharines and Hamilton offices. He then moved to Hamilton in 1957 and finally retired permanently in 1965 at the age of 71.

And a bleg; embarrassingly, I failed to write down the details of the folder where I found the German POW report. I have an idea of where it is, but I’m not 100% certain. If any readers are planning to visit the National Archive anytime soon, I know that Major Hall’s family would greatly appreciate a copy of the report. Please drop me an e-mail if you get a chance.

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