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Graves of VC recipients renovated in commemoration of their gallantry

Press release   •   Aug 13, 2014 09:52 BST

Rochdale Borough Council has renovated the graves of three Victoria Cross recipients who were laid to rest in the borough’s cemeteries.

 In recent weeks re-turfing work has been completed on the graves of Sergeant James Clarke (Rochdale Cemetery), Lance Corporal Joel Halliwell (Boarshaw Cemetery) and Private Anthony Palmer (Heywood Cemetery). Additional restoration work has also taken place on the gravestone of Crimean War hero Private Palmer, which had been in an advanced state of disrepair.

The renovation works have been commissioned by the Council as part of its commitment to the Armed Forces Community Covenant.

Lead Member for the Armed Forces Councillor Alan McCarthy said:

“As a member of the Victoria Cross Trust, I’m exceptionally proud that all our borough’s VC graves are in a condition that befits our nation’s most gallant heroes.

I would particularly like to thank our Environmental Management team, whose hard work and dedication has ensured that the graves are well kept and that the surrounding area looks incredibly beautiful.”

The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest military decoration awarded for valour ‘in the face of the enemy’. It was introduced on 29 January 1856 by Queen Victoria, in order to recognise and honour acts of heroism during the Crimean War.

Private Palmer received his gallantry medal for fiercely protecting his Battalion’s colours from capture and by directly saving the life of his Commanding Officer during the Battle of Inkerman, Crimea, 1854.

Sgt Clarke (15th Battalion) and L’Cpl Halliwell (11th Battalion) both served with the Lancashire Fusiliers during the Great War and received their VC’s for ‘most conspicuous bravery’ on the battlefield.

Many Victoria Cross graves around the country are in a poor state of repair but the council has ensured that the graves of the area’s VC heroes, who bravely fought for their country and received our greatest military honour, are in the good condition that they should be.

Rochdale Borough Council’s Acting Chief Executive, Linda Fisher said:

“It’s right that we honour our borough’s Victoria Cross recipients and ensure that their final resting places are fitting of the heroes which are buried there.”

Earlier this year L’Cpl Halliwell was honoured when Corporation Street in Middleton was renamed ‘L’Cpl Joel Halliwell V.C Way’. Private Palmer is also set to receive a similar honour this month, when Wood Street, Heywood, will be renamed ‘Private Palmer VC Parade’, in a ceremony on 24 August.

Rochdale was one of the first councils in the country to sign the Armed Forces Community Covenant, aimed at encouraging local communities to support services that promote and encourage activities that help integrate Armed Forces personnel back into civilian life. 

Current or ex Armed Forces personnel can register for help or get more information by visiting

If they encounter difficulties when accessing services from the council, or its partners, email, or call the council on 01706 926989.

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