The Oxford academic and historian of France, Dr W.D. (Bill) Halls, died on 23 March at the age of 92. Born in 1918, he served as an intelligence officer during the War, picking up his degree work after some five-and-a-half years in the armed forces and went on to complete an MA in French at the University of London and a D.Phil at Balliol College, Oxford.
As a member of the academic staff of the Department of Educational Studies in Oxford (from 1959) he played an important part in the development of comparative education in UK universities during the 1960 and 70s and produced many books and articles on comparative themes, especially on France. The book by which he will be principally remembered is The Youth of Vichy France, a groundbreaking study which is essential reading for researchers of the Vichy years.
He was a founder editor of two journals: Comparative Education (with Edmund King and Alec Peterson) and the Oxford Review of Education.
He will be remembered as a genial, courteous and generous colleague with whom it was a privilege to work.
Professor David Phillips: University of Oxford
22 April 2011