January 18, 2022

Legion of Honor recipient dies at 105

TILTON, N.H. — Damon W. Hall, a Maine native who recently received the French Legion of Honor for his service in World War I, has died at 105.

Born in Sangerville, Maine, on June 29, 1893, Hall lived for a time in Dover, N.H. He worked for the Boston & Maine Railroad on the Boston to Bellows Falls, Vt., line and owned and ran an Amoco station in Bellows Falls.

He moved to the New Hampshire Veterans Home in 1987, where he died May 18.

In February, French Consul-General Maurice Portiche presented Hall with France’s highest military honor at a ceremony at the home. To celebrate the 80th anniversary of the end of the war, France began honoring foreign soldiers who helped liberate France from German occupation in 1918.

At the time, officials said Hall was one of 300 surviving American veterans who qualified for the medal because they were stationed on French soil during the war.

On Nov. 11, 1918, the day the war ended, Hall was on a supply train headed to the front. Along the way, it met another train carrying Gen. John Pershing and his staff.

“When I saw him, I knew the war was over,” Hall said.

He said Pershing told the soldiers, “It’s all over, boys.”

Barry Conway, commandant of the home, said that made Hall “one of the first, if not the first doughboy, who heard that the war had ended.”

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