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franklin county times

Reluctant hero honored for D-Day service

By Staff
VETERAN HONORED – Hubert "Doc" Hall holds a certificate he received last month from the French government thanking him for participating in the June 6, 1944, D-Day invasion at Normandy beach. Hall, a Meridian native, has been a volunteer at Riley Hospital for nearly 10 years. Photo by Erin Hilsabeck/ The Meridian Star
By Erin Hilsabeck / staff writer
June 9, 2004
If you ask him, Hubert "Doc" Hall will tell you he's not a hero, that he was just doing what was expected.
Hall, 79, a volunteer at Riley Hospital, was one of more than 150,000 Allied troops during World War II who landed on France's Normandy beaches on June 6, 1944 D-Day.
Last month, almost 60 years to the day of the Normandy landing, Hall received a certificate and letter from the French government thanking him for his part in the liberation their country.
Even though Hall is reluctant to talk about his days overseas during the war, he said he was nevertheless surprised when his certificate arrived in the mail on May 10.
Hall received a similar letter and certificate from the French government three years ago. Both letters were sent to all veterans who fought to help free France during World War II.
Hall joined the U.S. Army at 17 and was a member of the 705 Transport Division's 282nd Company A. He was stationed in Scotland and England, where troops trained for a major invasion of the French coast.
He was 18 when troops were sent to France on D-Day. He and fellow soldiers had trained as best they could, he said, but the invasion of France was something for which no one could ever fully prepare.
He remembers what he saw, what he smelled and what he heard on the Normandy beach. Said Hall: "Imagine the fireworks you hear on the Fourth of July it was like that times 10."
While thousands of Allied soldiers died that day, Hall escaped injury and advanced into France. Three months later, in September 1944, he lost his right arm during an attack in the French countryside.
Hall was sent to hospitals in England, New York and Atlanta.
Shortly after he was discharged from service, he received a Purple Heart and the Croix de Guerre, an award from the French government similar to the U.S. Bronze Star.
Despite Hall's protest, Claire Aubel, marketing coordinator at Riley, calls him a hero.
Still, Hall isn't one to easily accept praise for what he did in France.

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