Lance Corporal Joel Halliwell V.C, Middleton’s only Victoria Cross recipient was recognised in the town on Tuesday, with the unveiling of a street sign in his honour in the town centre. Corporation Street will now forever be known as LCpl Joel Halliwell V.C. Way.
A large crowd of well over a hundred gathered by the street alongside Middleton Arena for a short ceremony unveiling the new street sign, exactly 96 years to the day since his act of bravery.
Joel Halliwell V.C was awarded the medal after rescuing 10 injured soldiers from no-man's land during the First World War. Joel, a father of three, was a reluctant hero in his life, saying he had just been doing his duty. In France in the summer of 1918, aged 37, Lance Corporal Halliwell captured a horse then rode into no-man's land under heavy shell fire to rescue an injured soldier. He went on to repeat the incredible feat of bravery nine times.
The poignant service included words from Shauna Dixon, Deputy Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Captain Joe Eastwood from the Lancashire Fusiliers Association, and Rochdale Borough Council leader Colin Lambert.
Shauna Dixon, Deputy Lieutenant of Greater Manchester said:
“It is excellent to see Joel’s achievements being recognised in this way. The Armed Forces truly deserve our support and recognition.”
Captain Joe Eastwood from the Lancashire Fusiliers Association talked about the history of the fusiliers and said he was very proud:
“Joel epitomised the very ethos of the fusiliers’ motto ‘Omnia Audax’, which means ‘Daring in All Things’, … he was a true hero.”
Council Leader Colin Lambert said Rochdale Borough Council’s street naming ceremony recognised the bravery of Joel Halliwell and illustrated the council’s commitment to the Armed Forces and the Armed Forces Community covenant:
“Today is another proud day for Middleton, the whole borough and for Joel’s family. It was great to see so many members of the Middleton community turn out to support three generations of Joel Halliwell’s family, who were in attendance today. This is the second street we have re-named in honour of a military achievement and we have a couple more planned for later this year. Street renaming is one of many schemes we have introduced to raise the profile of the work that our Armed Forces do, sacrificing their lives each day … and these street renaming’s will leave a lasting legacy. Soldiers deserve our respect and appreciation for the sacrifices they make and the council has a programme of events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of First World War.”
Joel Halliwell VC was a lance-corporal in the 11th Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers. After the war he was awarded the Victoria Cross – the highest military honour for valour in the face of possible death. He returned to his home in Middleton after the war and was landlord at the New Inn on Long Street. He was buried in Boarshaw cemetery in 1958.
The council signed the Armed Forces Community Covenant in 2012, aimed at encouraging 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 www.rochdale.gov.uk/armedforces If they encounter difficulties when accessing services from the council or its partners email firstname.lastname@example.org call the council on 01706 926989.
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