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Cecil Smith Hall

West Virginia
Veterans Memorial

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Cecil Smith Hall
1896-1918

“Cecil Hall, loved and respected by those who knew him, has given his life in defense of his country. He is the first of the patriotic men who have gone from our midst to lose his life overseas.”

G. A. MacQueen, mayor of Charleston

Cecil Smith Hall was born on April 14, 1896, in Webster County, West Virginia, the eldest and only son of three children born to Henry and Della Arbogast Hall. His two sisters were Gladys and Edith. Cecil was a member of the 1917 Charleston Baseball Team and an apprentice lithographer at Tribune Printing Company.

Cecil enlisted in the Navy on July 18, 1917, and was sent for basic training to Newport News, Virginia. He later was transferred to Boston to complete his training. Four days prior to departing from Charleston, Cecil married Madeline Vaughn.

Cecil was assigned to the USS Manley. On March 19, 1918, physical contact between the Manley and the HMS Motagua led to the accidental detonation of depth charges onboard the Manley, causing an explosion that ripped through the ship’s stern, killing numerous seamen, including Cecil Hall. He was the first Charleston area boy to lose his life in World War I.
Letter from Commander Berry
Letter, R. L. Berry to Madeline Hall, Charleston Gazette, April 30, 1918

Cecil Hall Funeral
Article on Cecil Hall funeral
On May 1, 1918, a public funeral was held for Seaman Cecil Hall at the state armory, through orders by Governor John Cornwell. The service was attended by thousands, including Gov. Cornwell and former governor William A. MacCorkle. He was buried in Spring Hill Cemetery in Charleston.

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West Virginia Archives and History welcomes any additional information that can be provided about these veterans, including photographs, family names, letters and other relevant personal history.


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