Obituary of Norris Hallowell, 1918
Norris Hallowell worked for the Halifax Permanent Building Society. He was one of five staff who gave their lives in the First World War.
Having signed up in November 1915, at the age of 18, Hallowell joined the ‘Bankers’ Battalion’.
He was sent to France in May 1916, and took part in the ‘Great Push’ – the Battle of the Somme. Hallowell sent a letter to his colleagues back in Halifax, describing his experiences. Though much was deleted by the censors, the remainder was reproduced in the staff magazine Round the Table:
We landed… and were almost immediately dispatched to the firing line, travelling for 22 hours by train in cattle trucks. We almost began to think we were cattle too, before we reached our destination, for we were packed in the trucks about 40 in each and our food consisted mainly of bully beef and biscuits, to which, of course, then, we were still unaccustomed. Eventually however we reached our destination, and our billets, which had been arranged beforehand were on farms, not in the farm itself but in the barns.
My particular barn was fine so long as the weather kept fine, but it became rather unpleasant when it rained, as part of the roof had disappeared. Shortly afterwards we went into the trenches… and so I received my first sight of war. ...
Since then I have earned the satisfaction of knowing that I have taken part in the Great Push and I am very glad to have been able to come out of it, so far, unharmed.
Just over a year later, Hallowell was killed in action at Hollebeke. He was 19.
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