The son of American slaves, William Hall was the first black person, the first Nova Scotian and one of the first Canadians to be awarded the Victoria Cross, the British Empire’s highest military decoration. Hall enlisted in the Royal Navy in 1852. Five years later, at the siege of Lucknow in India, he withstood a hail of enemy fire to man a gun battery as British forces tried to breach the walls of the Shah Najaf mosque. He won the Victoria Cross for this act of heroism. Back home in Nova Scotia, Hall’s extraordinary distinction went largely unnoticed during his lifetime. But since his death in 1904, he has gradually received the recognition he deserves. We are proud to display his medal.