Richard Nelville Hall in France in 1915. Courtesy of the Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs (AFS Archives.) This image cannot be reproduced outside the guidelines of United States Fair Use (17 U.S.C., Section 107) without advance permission from the AFS Archives.

Richard Nelville Hall volunteered for AFS immediately after graduating from Dartmouth College in 1915. In a letter to his parents, he stated that “the greatest inducement to going over [to France] is the opportunity for humanitarian work.” Hall quickly adapted to the difficult work in Alsace. He remained overseas after his enlistment period ended in November because his brother, Louis, was still on duty with AFS and in the same unit.

In the early morning hours of Christmas Day 1915, Richard Hall was killed by a stray German shell on a turn in the road leading to the dressing station at Hartmannswillerkopf.  He was founded by a fellow AFS volunteer several hours later, with his hands still clutching the steering wheel.

The Spring 2016 issue of the AFS Janus magazine features the short life of Hall, the first AFS ambulance driver to be killed during World War I. His story of humanitarianism and brotherly affection demonstrates the symbolism behind the tragedy of his early death, then and now. The article was compiled using letters, documents, stories, and photographs found in the Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs (AFS Archives), Dartmouth College, the AFS Foundation, and most importantly, from the Hall family themselves.

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