Lewis Halliday

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Sir Lewis Halliday
Victoria Cross Winners- Pre 1914. Q83027.jpg
Sir Lewis Halliday, dated 1913.
Born(1870-05-14)14 May 1870
Medstead, Hampshire
Died9 March 1966(1966-03-09) (aged 95)
Dorking, Surrey
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchRoyal Marines
Years of service1889–1930
UnitHMS Galatea
HMS Empress of India
Commands heldAdjutant-General Royal Marines
Battles/warsBoxer Rebellion
First World War
AwardsVictoria Cross
Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath

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

Early life[edit]

Halliday was born in Medstead, Hampshire on 14 May 1870. He was commissioned into the Royal Marines in 1889.

Victoria Cross[edit]

Halliday was 30 years old, and a captain in the Royal Marine Light Infantry, 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 reads:

Captain (now Brevet Major) Lewis Stratford Tollemache Halliday, Royal Marine Light Infantry 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.

— London Gazette, 1 January 1901.[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 VII during an investiture at Marlborough House on 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, from late 1902.[3] 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. He was appointed colonel second Commandant of the Royal Marine Light Infantry in 1920 and colonel commandant on 1 January 1923. Halliday was promoted to major general on 11 December 1925, to lieutenant general on 11 June 1927 and to general on 1 October 1928. He served as ADC to King George V in 1924 and 1925, and he held the post of Adjutant-General Royal Marines from December 1927 until his voluntary retirement in June 1930.[4] He was invested as a Companion of the Order of the Bath on 3 June 1913, he was elevated as a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath on 1 January 1930.

The medal[edit]

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


  1. ^ "No. 27262". The London Gazette. 1 January 1901. p. 3.
  2. ^ "Court Circular". The Times (36517). London. 26 July 1901. p. 3.
  3. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36868). London. 9 September 1902. p. 8.
  4. ^ "Senior Royal Navy appointments" (PDF). Retrieved 20 May 2016.

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Alexander Hutchison
Adjutant-General Royal Marines
Succeeded by
Sir Richard Ford
Court offices
Preceded by
Sir Reginald Brade
Gentleman Usher to the Sword of State
Succeeded by
Sir Arthur Barratt