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13460-corporal-william-halliwell-mm-dcmWilliam Halliwell was born at 58 Dallas Street in Preston on the 19th May 1894 the son of George and Elizabeth Halliwell (nee Baron). William`s parents married in the church of St. John the Baptist in Broughton near Preston on the 9th June 1880.

William had eleven siblings, eight of whom survived; Mary Ellen (1880), Joseph Edward (1881), Elizabeth (1882-1882), Alice Jane (1883), Nicholas Baron (1885-1886), Edith Ann (1998-1905), Elizabeth (1889), Margaret (1891), Florence (1897), Robert (1900) and Harold (1905).

After William`s parents married they moved into 48 Adelphi Street in Preston where his father George was a butcher and cattle dealer. By 1891 the family had moved to 58 Dallas Street which is where they would remain for many years. By 1901 George Halliwell seems to have had a complete change of occupation and was no longer a butcher but was now working as a `jobbing gardener`.

Twenty years on when the 1911 Census was recorded William and his family were still resident at 58 Dallas Street. Three of William`s eldest siblings had married by now and his sister Edith had passed away and so the family now consisted of; Williams parents, his elder sisters Elizabeth and Margaret, both cotton weavers and his two youngest brothers, Robert and Harold. Sixteen year old William was employed as an apprentice French polisher at Fisher`s in Kent Street. Also in the household was one of his married sisters` Alice Pilkington and her two children, Harry 5 and Mary aged 3 and there was also another child, 2 year old Joseph Wilson Halliwell.

William`s exact date of enlistment is unknown because unfortunately his service papers are not available. However, we do know that he joined the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and was issued with the service number 13460. In April of 1915 the 10th Battalion was transferred to the 112th Brigade in 37th Division and then on the 31st July 1915 William sailed for France with the initial deployment of the 10th (Service) Battalion LNL.

During the course of the war William attained the rank of Corporal, remaining with the 10th Battalion throughout. The 10th Battalion were involved in the following battles; First Ypres, Ancre, Somme 1916, Arras, Scarpe 1917, Arleux, Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Poelcappelle and Passchendaele.

It was after the Battalion`s involvement during the Battle of Arras in April 1917 that William was awarded the Military Medal. The Battle began on the 9th April but the 10th Battalion had remained in support for two days before finally joining the attack on the 11th. After two days of fighting the Battalion losses were heavy with 13 Officers and 286 other ranks, killed, wounded or missing. They were then withdrawn for a period of rest before returning to the front line on the 23rd April near St. Nicholas, south of Arras.

Extract from the Battalion War Diary

27th April 1917 – Received orders to attack Greenland Hill at dawn next day. Made all necessary arrangements and decided that the Battalion should `go over` in two waves.

28th April 1917 – 4.25am. Barrage opened, Battalion already in position for the attack. Battalion advanced and reached a point where the enemy had commenced to dig a trench, and during this movement the losses had been heavy and only 1 Officer – 2nd Lieut. Jones – was left. We at once began to improve the newly dug trench under enfilade fire from the direction of the Chemical Works on the right, and in this trench and adjacent shell holes what remained of the Battalion hung on until the early hours of the 29th (when it was relieved and withdrawn to St. Nicholas).

During the operations of April 1917 the Battalion had 21 Officers and 478 other ranks killed, wounded or missing.

An entry in the 10th Battalion War Diary made on the 1st June 1917 records;

10th-wd-1st-june-1917

On the 21st February 1918 the 10th Battalion was officially disbanded and having been made up to a strength of 1,100 men they then became the 15th Entrenching Battalion of the Fifth Army. Strict guidelines had been laid down as to the use of the Entrenching Battalions stating that they should only be used in defence work, not be used in forward areas and should not be attached to `fighting units`. However this directive was short-lived when most of the Entrenching Battalions became involved in helping to stem the tide during the German Spring Offensive in March 1918.

On the first day of the German Spring Offensive, Operation Michael (21st March 1918) the 15th Entrenching Battalion was involved in the defence of the TERGNIER to QUESSY line. It was on the following day that Corporal William Halliwell `for an act of conspicuous gallantry and initiative` was nominated for the award of a Distinguished Conduct Medal.

The citation reading;

13460 Cpl. W. Halliwell, M.M.,

L.N. Lanc. R. (Preston) (LG 3 Sept. 1918).

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion in action. When the enemy were attempting to turn the flank of a company, he, on his own initiative,

collected a party of stragglers of all units, and, dashing forward, held up the attack for a considerable time remaining until one man and himself

were left alone. He then joined another party and continued to fight on.

William`s parents notified the local paper the Preston Guardian and they published the following article and photograph.

13460-corporal-william-halliwell-mm-dcm-213460-corporal-william-halliwell-mm-dcm-1

The following month on the 9th April 1918 ten Officers and 120 other ranks including William left the 15th Entrenching Battalion and transferred to the 9th Battalion of the East Surrey Regiment. After joining the East Surrey`s William was allocated a new service number of 28795.

A war diary entry for the 9/E. Surrey Regt. dated 31st May 1918 records;

13460-corporal-william-halliwell-mm-dcm-3

Later in the year in the October of 1918 William managed to secure some home leave and on the 23rd October 1918 the Lancashire Daily Post announced that on the following day (24th) he would be presented with both his Military Medal and Distinguished Conduct Medal by the Mayor of Preston, Alderman Cartmell.

Tomorrow morning, at 10.30, the Mayor of Preston (Alderman Cartmell) will present the D.C.M. and M.M. awarded to Corporal W. Halliwell, L.N.L. Regt. of 58 Dallas Street, Preston. These public presentations are usually made on Saturdays, but in this case, Corporal Halliwell`s leave expires on Friday.

The presentation of awards in Preston would usually take place on the steps of the Town Hall, conducted by the Mayor and in the presence of family and members of the general public. The Mayor would make a speech and would then read out the award citations and the ceremony normally concluded with `three cheers` and applause.

William went back to the front, he survived the war and was finally discharged to Class Z on the 21st February 1919. After the war he was awarded the 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals to go with his Military Medal and Distinguished Conduct Medal.

In the June quarter of 1934 William married local girl Mary Winifred Dwyer in Preston and the couple went on to have three children. On the 29th September 1939 when the National Registration of the entire population was taken, William and Mary and their family were still living at 58 Dallas Street in Preston. William`s occupation was still a French Polisher by trade, however, at the time he declared that he was `temporarily disabled – road accident`.

Lancashire Evening Post reporting 15th June 1939;

“William Halliwell (45) of Dallas Street, Preston was admitted to Preston Royal Infirmary this afternoon suffering from a compound fracture of the right leg and head injuries due to being knocked down by a car while crossing Garstang Road from Ripon Street to Moor Park”.

William eventually recovered from his injuries and presumably returned to his work as a French Polisher. He passed away at Sharoe Green Hospital in 1973 at the age of 79.

Photograph of William (top of page) reproduced with the kind permission of William`s granddaughter Joanne Halliwell.

Janet Davis

Janet Davis has been researching her family history for many years and through this she discovered many relatives who served in WW1. This interest then led Janet to do many walking the battlefield tours with her husband. In April 2013 she discovered this website and volunteered to help. Janet believes that there are lots of stories still to be told, most of them very sad but at the same time they are a fascinating insight into the men, their families, what they did and where they came from.
Janet Davis

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