Today Alice Hall Claflin, descendant of Richard N. Hall, Class of 1915, visited Dartmouth to see artifacts related to her great uncle’s work as an ambulance driver stationed in France during World War I. The plate on Hall’s ambulance read “Dartmouth College: No. 2.”
This Christmas Day will mark the 100th year of Hall’s death. Hall was killed in Alsace, France, after a German shell hit his ambulance. In informing Dartmouth of the news, the American Ambulance Hospital of Paris described Hall as “a brave modest American youth.”
“It takes your breath away,” said Claflin, whose grandfather, Louis P. Hall, Class of 1911, also served in the war. “Richard’s story has always been such a family myth. Now, seeing this, it’s getting more real. I have a son who was that age—I can’t imagine.”
A consulate in France contacted Claflin and the extended Hall family to invite them to a World War I 100th anniversary event in Alsace honoring Richard Hall and other ambulance drivers on November 2, 2015. The consulate asked Claflin to gather additional information about Hall from Dartmouth.
“Apparently he made quite an impact in his six months in France,” says Claflin. “There is a woman who still visits his gravesite in Moosch every year.”
An exhibit honoring Hall and ambulance driver Howard B. Lines, Class of 1912, who died of pneumonia in the war, stood in the lower west entrance of Baker Library until recently, when it was moved due to construction.
The artifacts will be on display this evening for Dartmouth’s alumni club and group officers, who are gathering this weekend for their annual meeting.