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Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Manitoba's WWI Fallen: Sidney Halliday of Minto

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, I am working on a series of blog posts and radio shows that will look at some of the Manitobans who died in action. For more about this project and links to other posts, follow this link.

Sidney Halliday, 18, emigrated to Canada from Gloucestershire, England in 1913 to join his brother William as a farm hand near Minto, Manitoba. He didn't stay long, however. In December 1915 he travelled to Winnipeg where he enlisted with the 78th Grenadiers and by May 1916 was back in his homeland.

Halliday was wounded in 1917 but recovered and returned to action. He was killed on August 11, 1918, though did not appear on the official list until October 5, 1918. His Circumstance of Death record notes::


During an enemy counter attack on our lines in front of Hallu, he was instantly killed by the explosion of any enemy shell that landed in the trenches close by him. Owing to a temporary withdrawal from the position his body could not be recovered for burial.

He is commemorated by the Canadian Vimy Memorial in Pas de Calais, France.

Halliday, courtesy DND

For thousands of soldiers, this is where the story would end. Remarkably, though, Halliday's life and death made headlines almost a century later when his remains, as well as those of seven other soldiers, were found together in a garden in Hallu, France in 2006.

Halliday's body was identified thanks in part to a locket found nearby which had been given to him by his  fiancée Elisabeth "Lizzie" Walmsley, an Eaton's employee from Winnipeg who worked in Minto during the summers.

Five of the eight bodies were identified. On May 14, 2015 they were buried at Caix British Cemetery, Caix, France.

Related:
Hallu Casualty Identification Private Sydney Halliday
Canadian Virtual War Memorial entry
Sidney Halliday Attestation Papers
Circumstances of Death Certificate

Media:
Four WWI soldiers' remains identified CBC News
Fallen but not forgotten Winnipeg Free Press
Eight Winnipeg Soldiers..buried with full military honours Winnipeg Free Press
Forgotten No More: The Lost Men of the 78th CBC DocZone

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