William Hall was the 1st black person to receive the Victoria Cross. He was born in Nova Scotia to former slaves who left the United States because of the War of 1812. He became a sailor in his twenties, eventually joining the Royal Navy. He was awarded the Victoria Cross after securing a British garrison in Lucknow, India, while serving on HMS Shannon. Hall was one of two sailors to survive the attack, but was the only one able to continue to fight. He fought until the garrison was safe. Hall died in 1904 at the age of 77.