History of the Dalls:
The Children Of William And Elizabeth
John Somerville (Jack) Dall 1891 – ?
John (Jack) was the eldest of the three children of William and Elizabeth Dall. Not much is known about him, as he had a falling out with his father and was banished from the ancestral portals forever (although he was left a token ₤100 in William’s will).
After Jack was kicked out he went to Sydney and when World War 1 broke out he enlisted as John Somerville Morrow (he may have changed his name by deed poll). He was awarded a Military Medal and discharged as a sergeant.
He married a Ruby Augusta Eppel in 1920, but the marriage lasted only a few years and Ruby was left destitute. She moved to 44 York Place, Dunedin where she remained until her death in 1937, presumably in the status of a “poor relation”.
Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see a copy of Jack’s Certificate of Marriage, and notes handwritten on an envelope in 1921 presenting a rather terse summary of what was known of Jack’s life.
William Gordon was the second son of William and Elizabeth, and the father of William Dall.
William Gordon was bright at school and good at athletics, but a combination of inheritance plus the effects of environment (home and war) produced a withdrawn, dour, taciturn, misanthropic man with a very cynical view of life. He started off his working life as a bank clerk, but left the bank to work on a sheep farm. When the war began in 1914 William Gordon enlisted in the first A.I.F. in Sydney at age 20 (he put his age up to 22) and because of his rural experience was posted into the 1st Field Artillery Brigade as a driver for horse-drawn gun carriages.
On 27 September 1915 William Gordon Dall embarked for overseas service on the HMAT Hororata.
William Gordon’s first posting overseas was to the Middle East. There he suffered several bouts of dysentery, which were supposed to have affected his bowel functions for life, but worked out in his favour by stopping him being sent to Gallipoli. He eventually rejoined his unit in France and remained there until he was gassed by phosgene, which nearly killed him (the fellow next to him died). William Gordon was discharged in January, 1920, allegedly with heart disease among other things, but being something of an exercise crank and a hypochondriac managed to live until 78.
More on William Gordon Dall here…
Douglas Ellis Dall 1904 – 1976
Douglas was the youngest of the three children of William and Elizabeth Dall. Apparently bright at school, he was good at sports and became a prefect.
When he left school Douglas got a job with a rural agency firm, where he remained all his working life. He never married. Unlike William Gordon he was a friendly outgoing type and appears to have had many friends.
His talents and energy were channelled into his leisure interests, which gave him quite a rich and fulfilling life. In his early adult life he joined a repertory theatre, became a good amateur actor and later directed a number of semi-professional plays. One of his star performances was as Polonius in Hamlet, a production of The Globe Theatre, Dunedin in 1964.
Like his father, Douglas became a keen bowler in later life. He saved enough to retire at 55 and gave every indication of thoroughly enjoying his retirement. He was a smoker and died of lung cancer in August, 1976.
Next: more on the life of William Gordon Dall
Or return to Dr William Dall home page.
Jack Dall – documents