Lance 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."
For 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
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.
- Victoria Cross
- British War Medal (1914-20)
- Victory Medal (1914-19)
- King George VI Coronation Medal (1937)
- Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal (1953)
Lance corporal Joel Halliwell VC died in 1958,
the funeral took place at Boarshaw Cemetery with full military
On 27 May 2014 Corporation Street was renamed LCpl Joel
Halliwell V.C. Way in his honour.