Joseph Rex Hall was born 20 Nov 1894 in Kerang. He was a 19-year-old accountant, unmarried, when he enlisted on 18 August 1914 (just two weeks after war was declared by Britain). He had already served for 2 1/2 years in the military forces (28th Australian Army Medical Corps). His service number was 63, reflecting the early date of his enlistment.
Hall was placed in the 1st Light Horse Field Ambulance, and embarked on the HMAT Southern on 18 October 1914. In May 1915 he was sent to Gallipoli with the 1st Light Horse Field Ambulance, where he remained until December, with spells on nearby Greek islands, Malta and Egypt since he was serving on hospital ships and transports. In July the following year he was seconded to the Imperial Camel Corps. The Corps was formed in January 1916 in order to deal with the revolt of pro-Turkish Senussi tribesmen in Egypt's Western Desert, initially from infantry battalions which had served in Gallipoli.
In July 1918 Hall was transferred to the 15th Light Horse, formed in Palestine in June from members of the Camel Corps that had been disbanded because camel-mounted troops were not suitable for the conditions in Palestine. (He later wrote that he was commissioned in the 2nd Light Horse and fought in Palestine.) Hall gradually rose through the officers' ranks to be a lieutenant in 1917 and a captain by 1919. He appears to have remained in the Middle East for the rest of the war (although one of his Records of Service mentions a stint in France from September 1917 to April 1918, contradicted by his other records). He appears to have avoided wounding for the entire war (although he did suffer illness).
In January 1919 he travelled to England for '1914 leave'. By May he was ADC (Aide-de-Camp) to General Chauvel in London. He returned to Australia in July 1919, and was discharged on 14 January 1920. Hall's involvement with the military continued, and in May 1921 he was a candidate for a commission in the 2nd Cavalry Division.
He married Dr Margaret Anderson in 1922. They set up home in Lower Malvern Road, Glen Iris. Their housekeeper in later years was Clare (Mavis) Derrick (later McCabe), donor of SH 901021.
Hall served again in World War II, enlisting on 6 August 1942 at East Malvern (service number VX80978 (V24238)). He was discharged on 13 Dec 1946 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the 23/21 Australian Infantry Battalion. In later years he was photographed taking part in Anzac Day parades, proudly riding a horse and wearing his Light Horse uniform (eg. image P04474.002, Australian War Memorial).
National Archives series B2455/1, barcode 3007726, Hall Joseph Rex. World War II Nominal Roll http://www.ww2roll.gov.au/script/veteran.asp?ServiceID=A&VeteranID=485950, accessed 8/1/2010.
Information on corps and brigades in which Hall served from Australian War Memorial web site, accessed 8/1/2010.
State Library of Victoria, Hall papers MS Box 124/5-8, including diaries.