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Lance corporal Joel Halliwell VC

​​​​​​Victoria Cross medalLance corporal Joel Halliwell VC was born on 29 December 1881 in Middleton, Lancashire. He served with the 11th Battalion, The Lancashire Fusiliers.

On 27 May 1918, Halliwell was captured by the Germans and remained a prisoner with them for a short time before he managed to escape. On his way back to the British lines, seeing many wounded comrades lying on the ground, he mounted a stray German horse which he rode back to pick up a wounded man and brought him back to safety, in spite of heavy shellfire. He went on to repeat this process, back and forth, through heavy enemy gunfire, with no thought for his own safety, some ten times, until his horse received a severe wound and he could no longer continue.

Lance Corporal Halliwell was a modest man, maintaining that he had simply done as he was told and that any other man in his battalion would have done what he had done if they had the chance, as they never thought of anything but their duty.

His citation reads:

"No. 9860 L/Cpl Joel Halliwell, Lanc Fusrs. (Middleton)

For most conspicuous bravery and determination displayed during the withdrawal of the remnants of the Battalion when closely engaged with the enemy. L/Cpl Halliwell, having captured a stray enemy horse, rode out under heavy rifle fire and machine gun fire and rescued a wounded man from "No Man's Land". He repeated this performance several times, and succeeded in rescuing one officer and nine other ranks. He made another effort to reach a wounded man, but was driven back by the very close advance of the enemy. His conduct was magnificent throughout, and was a splendid and inspiring example to all who saw him."

Joel Halliwell VCFor his actions he received the Victoria Cross for valour, the highest award possible and remains the only Middleton man to date to have received this honour. Lance Corporal Halliwell was one of 19 Lancashire Fusiliers to receive one. In all, 1,356 VCs have been awarded.

He returned to Middleton where he was celebrated a hero. Thousands rallied to witness the civic parade, which was organised to welcome Joel and to see this brave man of their town for themselves.

He went on to get married, have 3 children and run The New Inn on Long St. He even tried to enlist to fight in WW2 but by this time, his age went against him and he was refused.

Medal group

Joel Halliwell medal group

  • Victoria Cross
  • British War Medal (1914-20)
  • Victory Medal (1914-19)
  • King George VI Coronation Medal (1937)
  • Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal (1953)

Later life

Lance corporal Joel Halliwell VC died in 1958, the funeral took place at Boarshaw Cemetery with full military honours.

Joel Halliwell gravestone

Street renaming

On 27 May 2014 Corporation Street was renamed LCpl Joel Halliwell V.C. Way in his honour.


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