Private Sidney Halliday

Between 2006 and 2007, eight sets of skeletal remains were discovered near Hallu, France. One set of remains were identified as those of Private Sidney Halliday.

Sidney Halliday was born in 1895 in Apple Tree Cottage, Lynch Stroud Gloucestershire, England.

In March 1913, Halliday travelled from Liverpool to Saint John, New Brunswick and then settled in Minto, Manitoba. Prior to enlisting in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), Halliday was a farmer and unmarried.

In December 1915, he enlisted to the 78th Battalion (Winnipeg Grenadiers), in Minto, Manitoba. In May 1916, Private Halliday arrived in England and then embarked for France in September of that year.

He served with the 78th Battalion until his death on 11 August 1918 in Hallu, France. Thirty-five soldiers of the 78th Battalion were presumed to have been killed in action at Hallu. Following the war, Private Halliday’s name was engraved on the Canadian National Vimy Memorial commemorating Canadian soldiers who died during the First World War and have no known grave.

In 2006, three sets of remains were discovered on private property in Hallu, France. Five more sets or remains were discovered the following year. The eight sets of discovered remains were analysed using anthropological methods, genetic testing, and isotope analysis and compared to the profiles of the 35 candidates. The presence of artefacts also provided information to some of the soldiers’ identities.

Private Halliday’s family members informed researchers that he may have been wearing certain items of jewelry at the time of his death. Just prior to enlisting, Private Halliday had exchanged rings with his sweetheart, Lizzie Walmsley, who had also been named in his will.

One set of remains was found with a locket that contained two locks of hair. Between them was a piece of card which read “L. Walmsley” which provided additional evidence that this particular set of remains were those of Private Sidney Halliday.

The interment of Private Halliday took place on 13 May 2015 at Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Caix British Cemetery, in Caix, France. Members of Private Halliday’s family, as well as representatives from the Government of Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces, attended the ceremony.

For further information on Private Sidney Halliday you can view his personnel file at Library and Archives Canada website.

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