John Arthur Hall - Sheffield's First Fatality of WW2?

In Sheffield's Burngreave Cemetery there is the grave of JOHN ARTHUR HALL. The burial record states

HALL, John Arthur (labourer, age 65).
     Died at 83 Burngreave Rd; Buried on September 9, 1939 in Consecrated ground;
     Grave Number 54, Section J1 of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield.

Remarks: Officiating Minister: J. E. Foster: Removed from Sheffield Parish.

War with Germany had been declared only six days prior to JOHN'S burial by a fellow Sheffielder, Mr Robert Dunbar. But it was the preparations for war that was the cause of JOHN'S death. The Emergency Powers (Defence) Act 1939 gave the British government dictatorial powers to govern every aspect of British civilian life. One of these powers was the imposition of a total night-time blackout that was to take effect from 1st September 1939.

The local newspaper Telegraph and Independent dated Wednesday 6th September 1939 carried a small report on page 5


A Sheffield man killed by a bus on Townhead Street on Monday night (4th September 1939) has been identified as John Arthur Hall aged 65 of 97 Hawley Street Townhead Street

He had been living with another pavement artist for a number of years since the death of his wife.

The Guardian gave this report in its edition dated 7th September 1939

I thought that the phrase "anyone who was out in the dark more or less took his life in his hands" was rather over-doing it, but when I was attempting to locate the inquest in the local Sheffield press I came across the following article from The Sheffield Star

It appears that more casualties were caused in the first months of the war by the British government rather than Nazi Germany! I'm sure that was not intended (or was it?). Of course fatalities such as JOHN'S death do not appears on memorials, and receive no commemorations but surely there as much victims of war as are those that lost their lives by direct action. 


The street where John was knocked down and killed is listed in the Guardian article as "Horley Street" but I believe it is in fact "Hawley Street"

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This page was last updated on 01/08/15 14:35