DSCN1146Have you ever wondered what you would get if you retired or moved on to a better job, or for that matter, ever thought of what you would get for someone whom you respected who was retiring or moving to greener pastures? Well, the Officers, Staff and or Men who knew Lieutenant Colonel William Hall certainly spared no expense when it came time to honour their Commanding Officer. This monumental figural drinking horn with silver plated mounts was their “Thank You”, inscribed on the base with “Pretoria South Africa 1910 Lieut Col W.B. Hall R.C.D.”

So who was the recipient you ask? Well half the fun with trophies is trying to find out who they were made for and sometimes there is a lot of information, other times very little. Items as old as this piece can travel great distances from one country to another over their lifetimes and will probably travel further long after we are gone but we have to start somewhere. We are in Canada after all and R.C.D. stands for Royal Canadian Dragoons, so it is a Canadian presentation piece. The actual drinking horn is made by WMF, standing for Wuttembergische Metallwarenfabrik, a German firm established in 1853 and still in business today. The Dragoons are still in existence and were very helpful in providing more information concerning Lieutenant Colonel W.B. Hall. He was born William Burray Hall in 1849 in Leeds Quebec (also 1840 or 1851 and Burras, if you have ever tried to trace your family history you will know that dates and names are not always set in stone, as I found out tracing William). He married Helen Wallace Waddell in Quebec City in 1878 and had two girls. Helen’s sister Mary was to marry William’s brother Peter Wallace Hall.

DSCN1148  William apparently was not your average career soldier as he studied at the Montreal Veterinary College and graduated from McGill University in 1880 (possibly 1877, remember the ancestry lesson before). Now here is a quick history lesson; after Confederation, on the 20th  October 1871, the first regular Canadian Regiments were formed with two Garrison Batteries, one in Kingston and the other in Quebec City. It was in the Quebec Battery that William was to spend the next ten years of his life. Reports of Inspection found in the Session Papers of the Parliament of the Dominion of Canada of 1882 and 1885 show William Hall as the veterinary surgeon for the Battery, stationed at Camp Levis. After this time he was shortly in B Battery of the Royal Canadian Artillery then on the 1st July 1893 he joined the Royal Canadian Dragoons as a Captain. He was promoted to Major on the 27th of June 1896, Veterinary Major on the 1st April 1903 and finally Lieutenant Colonel on the 22nd March 1910.

Military life could not have been easy then or now, especially as war was looming, the war in this case was the Anglo-Boar War which started in 1899 (also known as the Second Boer War). The Dominion Government (as we were called then) offered up 19 officers, 371 other ranks and 390 horses, you can see where I am going with this. William probably sailed from Halifax with these men on the 21st February 1900, after having been renamed the 1st Battalion, Canadian Mounted Rifles. While serving in South Africa William received Campaign Medals for Belfast, Cape Colony and Orange Free State.

It was on the 2nd November 1910 that the Royal Canadian Army Veterinary Corp was formed and it was shortly after being made Lieutenant Colonel in March of that same year that William most likely left the Royal Canadian Dragoon to join this new organization, and so received this great trophy as a token of his men’s respect. It is believed that when the Great War started in 1914 he tried to volunteer but was denied due to his age.

If you want to pay your respects to Lieutenant Colonel Hall, he can be found at plot 160691 in Toronto’s Mount Pleasant DSCN1147Cemetery, where it is listed that he died on the 30th June 1929.

That is who the trophy belonged to; this is how it would be catalogued:

Monumental figural silver plated covered drinking horn

WMF, late 19th century. The figural finial, modelled as a military officer with epee, above a cover and foliate collar with engraved armorial of a stags head (probably meant to represent a Springbok, identifying the Royal Canadian Dragoons), the horn held in place by a military officer holding a flag in one hand and a goblet in the other, while standing on an oak tree and rock formation, all above a circular gadrooned base with inscription, raised on four scroll feet.
Provenance: Property of Robert Deveaux Woodruff Band
ht. 22 in. (56.0 cm.)