Virtute Parta

Virtute Parta

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Remains of WWI Canadian Soldier Identified : Pte Sidney Halliday

Pte. Sidney Halliday

Pte. Sidney Halliday (Photo from The Department of National Defence)

The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces have identified the remains of a soldier who fought for Canada during the First World War.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the Department of National Defence announced that it had identified the remains to be those of Pte. Sidney Halliday of the 78th Battalion, also known as the Winnipeg Grenadiers.
Born in England, Halliday moved to Manitoba in 1915 and later joined the Grenadiers. He died overseas at the young age of 22, the department said.
Halliday is among eight soldiers whose remains were discovered in 2006 and 2007 in the village of Hallu, located in the northern Somme Region of France.
The discovery of the remains was the largest find of unknown Canadian soldiers since the Canadian Forces began its Casualty Identification Program. All of the remains are believed to be of soldiers who fought with the 78th Battalion.
In September, the department announced that the remains of four of those soldiers had been identified as Lt. Clifford Neelands, Lance- Sgt. John Lindell, Pte. Lachlan McKinnon and Pte. William Simms.
The department said it will be working with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, along with the relatives of the soldiers to plan for an interment ceremony.
During the war, the Winnipeg Grenadiers were sent to relieve the 3rd Division in the Canadian lines after the first attack of the Battle of Amiens on Aug. 8, 1918.
On Aug. 10, 1918, the Grenadiers were ordered to capture the village of Hallu. During their advance, 26 soldiers from the battalion were killed and 54 soldiers went "missing." Of those 54 soldiers, thirty remain "missing" with no known grave, according to the department.
The department estimates that of the nearly 68,000 Canadian soldiers who died during the First World War, more than 19,000 have no known grave.

Sunday, 2 November 2014


Lance Corporal William Halliday


Lance Corporal William Halliday, 17th Battalion, Highland Light Infantry. He was killed in action in France on 7th August 1916 during the Battle of the Somme and is buried in Cambrin Churchyard Extension, Cambrin, France

RankL Cpl
Service number23019
Place of birthLauder
Date of death8 August 1916
Theatre of deathF&F
Cause of deathKilled in action
Unit nameUnknown Unit attached to THE HIGHLAND LIGHT INFANTRY
Other detail17th Bn.


Second Lieutenant John Halliday


Second Lieutenant John Halliday, 2nd Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment. He was killed in action on 8th May 1918, aged 26. He was the son of John and Catherine Halliday of Eccles Mains, Kelso and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial, Dud Corner, Loos, France. 

Halliday One Name Study


Good news to report. I've adopted the 'Halliday One Name Study' which is a member of the Guild of One Name Studies. I think I originally registered the project in the late 1990's, but due to a young family and other restraints on time, I handed it over to Liz Holliday, who since then has continued to gather information about the surname and variants.

Liz is based in the south of England and has gathered digital and hard copy records for our name, especially from England and Wales statutory records and Wills. The majority of my existing records are for the Scottish Halliday/ Holliday clan members and these were gathered before the days of internet access and ScotlandsPeople.

Over the next few Mondays until Christmas, I intend to visit the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh and extract and collate birth, marriage and death indexes with additional information to get the data base underway. 

I'm still trying to decide the best format for working with this data :  Custodian 4, Brothers Keeper, spread sheets, data base, paper etc and how to display research in a user friendly format.

Anyway I hope to start using this blog again to keep you posted with developments. And many thanks again to Liz for all her hard work with the project over the last ten or more years. This is a project with no vestige of a beginning - no prospect of an end.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Halliday v Holliday : American Lawyer Stripped of Heraldic Arms

Following five years of legal wrangling the matriculation of Arms to an American lawyer who also claimed to reside at Corehead Tower has been 'expunged' from the records. A summary of events was published in the Moffat News -13 July 2012.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Update on Corehead Archaeology Dig

Tomorrow is the third day of the dig to locate Corehead tower. So far we have dug five test pits in the vicinity of the plantation behind the current Corehead farmhouse.
View towards the Devil's Beef Tub
The first weekend was spent walking the land in the wood looking for possible clues and identifying the rectangular earthwork that was visible on a 1951 aerial photograph, prior to the planting of the wood. Two pits were started in the earthwork and after the removal of earth and smaller stones,larger stones were discovered deliberately placed on top of each other.
It is difficult to say at this stage if they are the foundations of a building or an earlier stone dyke.
Pit 1

Last weekend three pits were dug just outside the wood on a green mound which appears to have the shape of a building.

'Quarry' site 

 Oral tradition says this was used as a quarry and despite some promising lumps and bumps this does appear to have been used for stone clearance and later as a midden for the farm. Everything from 19th century bottles and plates to toothpaste tubes were uncovered. However there was one piece of pottery that excited Jane our visiting archaeologist.This unglazed rim from a vessel has tentatively been dated as medieval.

  The days are short just now and our work stops about 3.00pm but the low sun of winter and days of frost and light snow are useful for detecting ancient human activity in the landscape. Here beside where we are working can clearly be seen the green ridges of medieval 'rig and furrow' cultivation.

Rig and Furrow

This weekend we will return to the wood and extend trenches 1&2 and hopefully find some signs of human habitation.

The sun sets and the moon rises over Corehead 

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Archaeology Dig at Corehead

Tomorrow and for the next three successive Sundays in November will see the start of an archaeological excavation to locate the site of Corehead Tower. Many Halliday readers will know that the Dumfriesshire family have long been associated with Corehead. This stems from the legend that Tom Halliday who lived at Corehead was nephew to William Wallace the Scottish guerrilla leader during the Scottish Wars of Independence. The earliest record for this association appears in The Wallace a poem written in Scots by Blind Harry about 1477. Historians and scholars have dismissed much of the poems contents as fiction and yet there are elements within which on closer examination bear some element of truth. This is something I will return to later.

Black and white photos from Clarence Halliday early 1960's book

The poem does not mention a tower or castle only that they stayed at 'the Corhead'.A later Border Ballad called The Sang of the Outlaw Murray also refers to the Halliday family of Corehead. Yet despite searching for many years I have not yet found any charter or reference to a land transaction that connects the family specifically to Corehead.
It is known that the Bruce family were Lords of Annandale from 1124 and later the Douglases were granted the lands of Moffat and Corehead in the 14th century. They held them until the 1550s  when Johnstone of Craigieburn purchased them.This branch of the Johnstone clan then took the title Johnstone of Corehead.They  had other towers at Cornal,Corehead and Lochhouse.   .
The earliest surviving record  of a tower at Corehead  appears in a map of 1597 which depicts the tower at the head of Annandale.

The Johnstone family continued to live at Corehead farmhouse until the late 19th century.

In 2009 the farm and surrounding hill land around the Devil's Beef Tub was purchased by the Borders Forest Trust.

Tomorrow a small team of volunteers and archaeologists will begin the hunt for the tower. The area will need to be cleared of fallen trees and test pits will be dug at promising sites. All very exciting