BENJAMIN C. HALL, CDR, USN
Benjamin Hall '40
Date of birth: November 12, 1917
Date of death: November 5, 1944
From the 1940 Lucky Bag:
Charlie was lost in an aircraft accident near Lake City, FL on November 4, 1944.
Four classmates, Campbell, Tom Nicholson, Dick Champion, and Cary Hall drove across the country to Bremerton in a 1938 Ford V-8 after graduation leave and reported on board CALIFORNIA. Mick Carney, a truly superb naval officer, was Exec. CALIFORNIA was a great ship, and service in her before the war was pleasant and instructive.
Campbell was assigned to the F Division with the primary job of rangefinder officer and a battle station in Spot 2, atop the mainmast. Coming down from the maintop after the Japanese attack on December 7, Campbell confirmed that there were seven dive bombers in the string that dove on CALIFORNIA because he had emptied his .45 cal pistol, loaded with seven rounds, one round on each plane. Who can say that he didn't shoot down the dive bomber that crashed into CURTIS, on the other side of Ford Island?
After CALIFORNIA was sunk on December 7, Campbell, with the rest of the battleship gunners, worked to install the guns from the sunken ships on the beach and then turn them over to the Coast Artillery. This duty completed, he was ordered to ALABAMA, and on the way he married Rose Willingham in Macon on June 6, 1942. In 1943, Campbell was accepted for flight training and Rose accompanied him to Dallas, Pensacola, Beaufort, and finally Lake City, Florida. During this time, their first child, christened Rosalie, was born in May of 1944. When she was four months old, Rose joined Campbell at Lake City. He was killed one month later, on November 5, 1944 in a training flight. He is buried in his family plot in Macon.
On his death, their daughter's name was changed to Campbell and she is now known as "Cam". She lives in Chesapeake, Virginia, and has two sons, Campbell's grandsons.
Rose married Winburn Stewart in Macon, in 1947, and then, after they were divorced, she married an Episcopal priest from Macon, William Parker Burns, one of Campbell's boyhood friends. Billy was a chaplain in the Air Force during WW II. He retired from the Episcopal diocese of western North Carolina. Billy died in 1985, and Rose now resides in Whiteville, North Carolina. Cary Hall and Tom Nicholson
Charlie is buried in Georgia.