Victoria Cross recipients from Rochdale borough

Lance Corporal Joel Halliwell VC

Lance corporal Joel Halliwell VC was born on 29 December 1881 in Middleton. He served with the 11th Battalion of The Lancashire Fusiliers.

Actions earning Joel Halliwell the Victoria Cross

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 10 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.

For his actions, he received the Victoria Cross for valour and remains the only Middleton man to date to have received this honour.

Citation for Lance Corporal Joel Halliwell 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."

All medals awarded to Joel Halliwell

Lance Corporal Joel Halliwell has earned the following medals and honours:

  • 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 of Joel Halliwell

Lance Corporal Joel Halliwell returned to Middleton after the war where he was celebrated as 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 ran The New Inn on Long Street. He even tried to enlist to fight in WW2 but by this time, his age went against him and he was refused.

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

Street renaming in honour of Lance Corporal Joel Halliwell

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