Today's blog is about one fellow you probably have never heard of before. Like so many others in this space. These are all the victims of past truth gatherers. Hopefully more will come along to fill this void.
Like quite a few of our Medal of Honor recipients and over half of our Victoria Cross recipients, Robert did not start out as a Canadian. But that wasn't his fault. But by the age of two he had his parents convinced (hehe) to move to the North America. Perhaps they threw a dart and it landed in the middle.. at a place called Winnipeg. But they probably forget to check its weather and if they did they would have discovered that this very city was the coldest in Canada...and the world. Gives you a chill just thinking of it. Unless you were from there. (hehe)
Robert and family would settle in, put memories of England behind, and make a new life for themselves. He'd get some schooling and become a stock broker and then the Great war started. With a surname like Stall, it may be understandable while the delay, but that aside Robert Stall decided it was time to sign up and do his bit. He'd do much more, but it all began with his enrolling as a private with the 90th battalion, the Winnipeg Rifles jn July of 1915, when he was 25years old and single. Soon he would get more adventure than he probably wanted.
Then came Amiens!.
It would be just outside of Amiens, some 75 miles North of Paris France that the period, later to become known as the Hundred Days Offensive would start. On 8 August a battle would start that would see the allies gain some 8 miles of enemy held lands. It would be among the most impressive several day gains in the entire war and would mark the start point of 100 days of battle that would bring the war to an end. The enemy would dub that first day of battle as the blackest day for the Germany army, not so much for the lands gained by the Allies but the incredible moral support they gained and the enemy lost while massive amounts of their own troops started throwing down their arms. The mobile battle would see the end to trench warfare...but not before it would end Robert Stall's days of fighting.
While others were surrendering there were many strong pockets of resistance. At one of these nearbye at Par Villares Stall's men were still in trenches and battling oncoming Germans, Being pinned down, Stall grabbed a Lewis machine gun and actually rose in his trench, and gave the enemy quite a blast taking out many and turning the enemy back. He then pushed his men along the trench some 75 yards closer to the enemy and when this was noticed the Germans again advanced on the PPCLI platoon. Yet again Stall stood up to drive the enemy back. In doing so he took a round that instantly killed him. The platoon was saved but the man from England had given his all. His friends would later bury him near the battlefield but later actions destroyed the grave and no known grave for the man exists to this day.
On 26 October 1918 his name appeared in the London Gazette with a description of his bravery just a few months earlier, and noting that he was being awarded the Victoria Cross. That cross is proudly displayed with his British War Medal and Victory Medal at the Museum of the Regiments at Calgary Alberta.
His PPCLI's proudly boast that they had earned three Victoria Crosses in the Great War. Stall's was the last and the only one posthumously awarded.