A PLAQUE will be unveiled at a Hampshire church in memory of a local hero.

Lewis Halliday was born in Medstead, near Alresford, on May 14 1870. His family lived at Medstead House, Wield Road, near St Andrews Church.

When he was 19 years old Lewis enlisted in the Royal Marine Light Infantry. After ten years of service he embarked on HMS Orlando for China to take part in the campaign against the Boxer Rebellion.

On June 24 1900 at Peking, the Boxers and Imperial Troops made an attack on the British Legation. Captain Halliday was in command of a party of Marines to repel the enemy. Involved in desperate fighting he was severely wounded with a fractured shoulder and damaged lung. Despite his injuries he continued to attack, killing four of the enemy. It was for this action he received the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy.

The VC Medal was presented to General Halliday on July 25 1901 by King Edward VII at St James’ Palace, Pall Mall, London. It is now held by the Royal Marines Museum at Southsea. He lived until he was 95 years old and was buried in Medstead Cemetery in 1966.

Through the generosity and support of the Royal Marines Association, Lt Col Reggie Turner RM will unveil a plaque in his honour in Medstead Church on the July 15 at the 11am service.

Members of Lewis’ family will be attending. Everyone is welcome to attend the service.

Senior Royal Marines officers, standards and a Royal Marine bugler will be in attendance. His grandson Roger Halliday will be travelling from Cornwall for the occasion.

We are delighted that the village is now remembering the gallantry of this local born man after all these years.

By The Rev Cannon Ed Pruen