b. 14/05/1870 Medstead, Hampshire. d. 09/03/1966 Dorking, Surrey.
Sir Lewis Stratford Tollemache Halliday (1870-1966) was born on the 14th May 1870 in Medstead, Hampshire, the eldest son of Lieutenant-Colonel Stratford C. Halliday, Royal Artillery. He was educated at Elizabeth College, Guernsey, and entered the Royal Marine Light Infantry on 1st September 1889. In 1898, he received a promotion to Captain.
On the 29th May 1900, he landed at Taku, China from the HMS Orlando, in command of 50 men of the Royal Marine Light Infantry, and proceeded to Peking as Legation Guard. In the resulting defence of Peking, Halliday would be awarded the Victoria Cross (London Gazette, 1st January 1901) for the following action.
On 24th 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 3 miles unaided to the hospital although his shoulder was half blown out and his left lung punctured.
He would receive his medal from King Edward VII at St James Palace, London on 25th July 1901, and would also receive the China Medal with clasp and received the Brevet of Major for his distinguished service in the field. In 1904, he was given command of a unit of his corps on board the “Empress of India”. In 1908, he married Florence Clara, the eldest daughter of Brigadier-General William Budgen, DSO, and they went on to have a son. Sadly, Florence died shortly afterwards. From 1908 to 1911, he was Commander of a Company of Gentleman Cadets at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, and GSO, 2nd Grade.
In 1912, he was appointed to serve on the Staff of the Royal Naval War College, and also on the Royal Naval War Staff, and in 1914, he was created a Companion of Bath. Halliday remarried in 1916 to Violet, daughter of Major Victor Blake, who hailed from Hayling Island, Hampshire. Halliday was later knighted, and until very recently held the distinction of being the oldest living Victoria Cross recipient. Halliday died on 9th March 1966 in Dorking Hospital, Surrey, aged 95. Following a cremation at Randalls Park Crematorium in Leatherhead, his ashes were interred in Medstead Cemetery, Hampshire. His medals are held and displayed by the Royal Marines Museum, Southsea.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: ROYAL MARINES MUSEUM, SOUTHSEA, HAMPSHIRE.
BURIAL PLACE: MEDSTEAD CEMETERY, MEDSTEAD, HAMPSHIRE. ASHES INTERRED
Kevin Brazier – Image of Halliday VC grave in Medstead Cemetery, Hampshire.
Thomas Stewart – Image of the Halliday VC Medal Group at Royal Marines Museum, Southsea.