Quartermaster William Hall First Canadian and First Black to receive the Victoria Cross 1859
William Hall was born in Horton Bluff, Nova Scotia, the son of former American slaves. He began his naval career on an American trading vessel in 1844 when he was only seventeen years old. In 1852 he joined the British Royal Navy and fought in the Crimean War from 1854 to 1855. He received both British and Turkish medals for his service during this war, but his greatest honour was for his service in India in 1857. In this incident, he fought to defend a British garrison that was under seige by mutineers, and was the only man left defending the garrison when it was finally relieved. Seaman Hall, who was later promoted to Quartermaster and Petty Officer, was awarded the Victoria Cross for Bravery in 1859, making him this first Black person, the first Nova Scotian and the first Canadian sailor to receive this honour.
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