SECOND LIEUTENANT JOHN FRANCIS ASHLEY HALL
ROYAL AIR FORCE
14TH AUGUST 1918 AGE 20
BURIED: LAPUGNOY MILITARY CEMETERY, BETHUNE, FRANCE
"'Tisn't life that matters! 'Tis the courage you bring to it" ... this from old Frosted Moses in the warm corner by the door." ... "A little boy, Peter Westcott, heard what old Frosted Moses had said, and turned it over in his mind."
FORTITUDE Hugh Walpole 1913
John Francis Ashley Hall's father chose his inscription, taking it from the opening words of Hugh Walpole's 1913 novel, Fortitude. The main character is Peter Westcott whose life is tested by one personal catastrophe after another, in the face of which he shows great personal fortitude.
Hall originally served with the East Yorkshire Regiment, being commissioned from the Royal Military College, Sandhurst in August 1916. However, at some point he transferred to the Royal Air Force where he served with 21 Squadron, a strategic reconnaissance and bombing squadron.
I don't know how Hall met his death on 14 August 1918 but he's buried beside a fellow member of 21 Squadron, Second Lieutenant Hugh William Savage, who also died on 14 August. This suggests to me that they were the observer and pilot of one of 21 Squadron's RE-8s. Savage's record says that he was killed in action rather than being accidentally killed. I would imagine that this was Hall's fate too.