Joel Halliwell VC

Born in Middleton on 29th December 1881, Lance Corporal Joel Halliwell was to be awarded the Victoria Cross for "...conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty".
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.
He returned to Middleton amid public jubilation and a civic welcome by the Mayor and Mayoress of the borough.
Joel Halliwell died on the 14th June 1958.

Joel Halliwell VC

Lance Corporal Joel Halliwell of Parkfield, Middleton served in the Lancashire Fusiliers in World War 1. In 1918 he was captured by the Germans and was a prisoner before escaping back to the British territory. He was met with carnage along the way seeing many of his comrades lying wounded in the chaotic 'no mans land.' Finding a stray horse, he rode back through the heavy shell and gunfire to pick up the wounded from the battlefield and take them back to safety. Braving these terrifying conditions he was able to return and one by one, picked up 10 of his comrades until unfortunately the horse was fatally wounded. He then trekked well over a mile or so and back to bring water for the wounded. He modestly maintained that he had simply done what any comrade would have done having had the chance as it was only their duty. How he wasn't hit himself is nothing short of a miracle but saving his comrades was foremost on his mind rather than that of his own safety.

He returned to Middleton where he was celebrated a hero. Thousands rallied to witness the civic parade laid on to welcome Joel and to see this brave man of our town for themselves. He recieved the Victoria Cross for valour, the highest award possible and remains the only Middleton man to date to have recieved this honour. In all, 1,356 VC's have been awarded. Lance Corporal Halliwell was one of 19 Lancashire Fusiliers to recieve one.

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. He died in 1958 his funeral having full military honours and is buried in Boarshaw Cemetary.

Joel's Family visit the the Fusilier Museum

Joel Halliwell VC Road Naming Middleton

Joel Halliwell VC Road Naming Middleton 2

The 11th Battalion was accordingly ordered at 9am to occupy a frontage of four hundred yards on the high ground south of the River Aisne. At about 10:50am the Germans reached that obstacle opposite the Battalion, and shortly afterwards the 9th Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, the left unit of the 74th Infantry Brigade, became engaged and by 1:30pm the Germans had succeeded in crossing the Aisne River and the Aisne Canal immediately to the south of it by a bridge at Maizy and were advancing rapidly along a valley towards Muscourt. The 11th Battalion was involved and succeeded in holding up the attackers on the road leading south from Concevreux. The German parties which had moved up the valley succeeded, however, in entering Muscourt; and as the Battalion’s flank was thus turned it was forced to withdraw to a ridge near Meurival. Its stay here could not be long on account of the heavy shelling to which the Germans subjected the position. It was here that 9860 Lance-Corporal Joel Halliwell won his Victoria Cross.
He galloped forward on a stray horse captured from the enemy and, under very heavy machine-gun fire, bought back unaided and single handed to a place of safety an officer and nine men who had been severely wounded and unable to move. In each case he saw personally to their evacuation by stretcher-bearers towards medical aid. Three times he made unsuccessful attempts to make what would have been his eleventh rescue, but the enemy was now advancing so rapidly that he had to retire to avoid capture.
Although the Battalion was shelled off the ridge, its withdrawal was a short one and it found another position along a road five hundred yards south of it. Between 7pm & 8pm the Germans launched three local attacks against the 11th Battalion, but were repulsed with heavy losses each time. In the meanwhile, however, the enemy had succeeded in turning the flanks at other points on the battlefield, and at 10pm the Brigade was ordered to withdraw to Romain, two miles farther south, to conform to similar movement on each side of it. The Battalion moved to Breuil-Sur-Vesle, where its quartermaster, Lieutenant J. Gower, with the help of the transport Sergeant, W. Barnett, managed to supply it with hot tea. During the day the losses had been 6 men and 6 0fficers killed and 79 other ranks wounded.