|Joel Halliwell VC|
Yesterday evening, as part of its commemoration of the centenary of the start of World War I, the BBC broadcast a special edition of Antiques Roadshow which had been filmed largely in the cemetery at Thiepval, close to the monument to all those Commonwealth soldiers who died in the battle of the Somme but have no known grave. The last item in the programme had, however, been filmed in a different military cemetery, that at Warloy-Baillon. With presenter Fiona Bruce and a medals expert were a frail, elderly lady and her two granddaughters. The elderly lady was Lance Corporal Halliwell's daughter and they discussed the event which led to the award of the Victoria Cross before Ms Bruce led the elderly lady to the headstone marking the grave of her uncle, Thomas Halliwell, Joel's brother, who died on the Somme. It was an extremely emotive end to the programme.
But what I find so astonishing is the bravery demonstrated by Joel Halliwell. In 1918, during the
|The Victoria Cross|
Going into no-man's-land just once to rescue someone would be brave enough, but to do it ten times is almost beyond belief. And, what's more, he would have had to heave the bodies onto the horse each time. No wonder he was awarded the Victoria Cross, Britain's highest award for valour in the face of the enemy.