The Chemist

Lieutenant Colonel John A. Hall
30th (Victoria Fusiliers) Battalion Hall

He retired to British Columbia after the war and worked in his private laboratory, but several times ”threatened,” in his impulsive and outspoken way, to come back to England and help to “clear up the mess.”

(Journal of the Chemical Society, 1932, 2993)

John Albert Hall was born in Manchester England on 24 August 1868. After studying chemistry at Owen’s College, he worked for the Clayton Aniline Company, a manufacturer of dyestuffs. In 1893, Hall and two colleagues established a chemical and acid factory in Victoria, British Columbia, which later merged with Canadian Explosives Ltd. In 1899, Hall joined the 5th Regiment, becoming the commanding officer in 1903. Major Arthur W. Currie succeeded him in 1909.

30thHall came out of retirement in 1912 to form the 88th Fusiliers. During the Great War, he organized the 30th Battalion from his militia regiment. Shortly after arriving in England in April 1915, Hall relinquished command to Major C.F. De Salis in order to assist in munitions manufacturing research for the War Office. Through his work with the Ministry of Munitions, Hall later became inspector for war manufacturing plants in England.

In 1919, his alma mater, Victoria University of Manchester, formerly Owen’s College, awarded Hall an honorary doctorate of science. After the war, Hall returned to British Columbia where he worked and researched from his personal chemical laboratory.

He died in Victoria on 18 May 1932.

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