Born in Nova Scotia to former slaves, Hall was the first Black, the first Nova Scotian, and the first Canadian naval recipient of the Victoria Cross.
Becoming a sailor before joining the Royal Navy, he was awarded the Victoria Cross for protecting a British garrison in Lucknow, India while serving on board HMS Shannon. Serving as a gunner, Hall bravely continued to fight when others couldn’t. At the end of the day, he became one of two sailors to survive the attack and one of four members of the naval brigade to be awarded the VC. Hall died in 1904.