Lewis Halliday

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Sir Lewis Halliday
Victoria Cross Medal without Bar.png
Born 14 May 1870
Medstead, Hampshire
Died 9 March 1966
Dorking, Surrey
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Marines
Years of service 1889 - 1930
Rank General
Unit HMS Galatea
HMS Empress of India
Commands held Adjutant General of the Royal Marines
Battles/wars Boxer Rebellion
World War I
Awards Victoria Cross
Order of the Bath

General Sir Lewis Stratford Tollemache Halliday VC, KCB (14 May 1870 – 9 March 1966) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Details[edit]

Halliday was 30 years old, and a captain in the Royal Marine Light Infantry, Royal Marines during the Boxer Rebellion in China when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

On 24 June 1900 at Peking, China, an attack was made on the British Legation by the Boxers who set fire to the stables and occupied some of the other buildings. It being imperative to drive the enemy out, a hole was knocked in the Legation wall and 20 men of the RMLI went in. Captain Halliday, leading a party of six men, was involved in desperate fighting and was severely wounded but despite his injuries, he killed four of the enemy. Finally, unable to carry on any further, he ordered his men to go on without him, after which he returned to the legation alone, telling his men 'carry on and not mind him', so as not to diminish the number of men engaged in the sortie. He walked 100 yards unaided to the hospital although his shoulder was half blown out and his left lung punctured.

His citation read:

On the 24th June, 1900, the enemy, consisting of Boxers and Imperial troops, made a fierce attack on the west wall of the British Legation, setting fire to the West Gate of the south stable quarters, and taking cover in the buildings which adjoined the wall. The fire, which spread to part of the stables, and through which and the smoke a galling fire was kept up by the Imperial troops, was with difficulty extinguished, and as the presence of the enemy in the adjoining buildings was a grave danger to the Legation, a sortie was organised to drive them out. A hole was made in the Legation Wall, and Captain Halliday, in command of twenty Marines, led the way into the buildings and almost immediately engaged a party of the enemy. Before he could use his revolver, however, he was shot through the left shoulder, at point blank range, the bullet fracturing the shoulder and carrying away part of the lung. Notwithstanding the extremely severe nature of his wound, Captain Halliday killed three of his assailants, and telling his men to " carry on and not mind him," walked back unaided to the hospital, refusing escort and aid so as not to diminish the number of men engaged in the sortie.[1]

He was promoted to brevet major for his part in the legation's defence, and returned to the United Kingdom to receive the VC from King Edward during an investiture at Marlborough House 25 July 1901.[2]

Later service[edit]

Having recovered from his wound he returned to duty at the end of 1901. He commanded the Marine detachment aboard HMS Galatea, and then commanded the Marines aboard HMS Empress of India, the flagship of the home fleet. In 1907 having completed staff college at Camberley, he was appointed staff officer to the Portsmouth Division of his corps. He then commanded a company of Gentleman Officer Cadets at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst for four years during which time he was promoted to major. Among his cadets was the future Field Marshal Earl Alexander of Tunis. In early 1915 he was promoted to brevet lieutenant-colonel and on 14 July of that year he was made lieutenant-colonel. In November 1915 he joined GHQ, Home Forces as General Staff Officer. 1920 he was appointed Colonel 2nd Commandant and on 1 January 1923 he became colonel commandant. 11 December 1925 he was promoted to major general, to lieutenant-general on 11 June 1927 and to full general on 1 October 1928. He was ADC to King George V in 1924 and 1925, and was Adjutant General of the Royal Marines from 1 October 1927 to his voluntary retirement in 1930. Having been appointed as Companion of the Bath on 3 June 1913, he became Knight Commander of the Bath on 1 January 1930.

The medal[edit]

His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Royal Marines Museum in Southsea, England.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27262. p. 3. 1 January 1901.
  2. ^ "Court Circular" The Times (London). Friday, 26 July 1901. (36517), p. 3.

External links[edit]

Court offices
Preceded by
Sir Reginald Brade
Gentleman Usher to the Sword of State
1933–1946
Succeeded by
Sir Arthur Barratt