Joseph and Robert Hallows


This biography was written by Victoria Doran.

Joseph and Robert Hallows were brothers who both died in late 1918 having served from the beginning of the war.

Brickfield Cottage jpg.jpg

The sad end of Brickfield Cottage from the Hoylake News & Advertiser of 9 January 1959 following a fire

Joseph (known as Joe) and Robert (known as Bob) Hallows were the oldest of the five children, all sons, of Joseph Hallows (1864-1944) and Margaret Elizabeth Beck (1869-1948). They were both born in Hoylake, but brought up in West Kirby. Joseph and Margaret were married at Holy Trinity, Hoylake on 15 December 1889.

Joseph Hallow & Margaret Beck marriage jpg.jpg

Margaret Elizabeth Beck was the sister of John Beck, the father of John Beck yet another name on Grange Hill War Memorial, so they were John Beck’s first cousins and thus closely related to many Hoylake fishing families.

Joseph Hallows was a brickmaker who was born in Manchester, the son of another Joseph Hallows (1823-1895), another brickmaker, and his wife Elizabeth (1826-1896). The Hallows family originated in the Stockport, Cheshire area near the county boundary with Lancashire.

The eldest Joseph Hallows started out as a piecer in a mill, changed to become an agricultural labourer in his 20s, but was a brickmaker when he moved his family to Manchester when he was in his 30s. His father, William Hallows (1797-1858) was a mechanic, probably in a cotton mill.

So on both sides of their family the five Hallows brothers came from three previous generations with minimal contact with agriculture. Despite this the older three brothers all worked with horses at some stage. Joe and Henry (1893-1975), known as Harry, both worked as drivers or grooms for Thomas Tottey  of Grange Hill Farm, West Kirby. Bob worked as a baker’s van man, which again would have involved a horse driven vehicle.

Thomas (1895-???), known as Tommy, started adult life as a butcher but became a farmer after emigrating to Australia in 1913. It is not known what occupation the youngest brother William (1899-1968) followed.

The eldest Joseph Hallows, the brothers’ grandfather, moved his family to north west Wirral in the 1870s. There was certainly work for a brickmaker in the area at that time as their move coincided with the arrival of the railway and the start of the change of West Kirby and Hoylake from agricultural and fishing villages to mainly dormitory suburbs and resorts.

In the 1880s and 1890s three generations of the family lived in West Kirby in what is now Birkett Road. They almost certainly made the bricks for at least some of the houses in that road.

By 1901 the brothers’ father had his own business and they had moved somewhat up market to 4 South Road, West Kirby.

However by 1911 he was no longer an employer and the family had moved to Brickfield Cottage. This was above the cliffs at West Kirby, not far from the area now known as Cubbins Green. It would have been very exposed to the weather.

The three eldest brothers all enlisted in the army in the last week of August 1914.  Harry joined the 12th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment and served in Salonika from September 1915. He became a Lance Corporal and earned a Meritorious Conduct Medal.

Tommy joined the Australian Expeditionary Force and served in France.

Nothing is known about William, but he only reached his 18th birthday at the beginning of 1918, so if he was conscripted he probably did not serve overseas.


Joe Hallows photo jpg

Joe Hallows was born in Hoylake at the end of 1890 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 11 January 1891.

Joe had been an enthusiastic member of the short lived West Kirby Church Lad’s Brigade. He subsequently became a Superintendent of the Scouts. Later he was Secretary of the West Kirby Swimming Club and competed in the Annual Regatta held on the Marine Lake on 13 June 1914. He was also a keen yachtsman. Clearly a young man who made the most of his sporting opportunities.J Hallows regatta jpg.jpg

As can be seen, he was clearly one of the two best swimmers in West Kirby along with another name on the Grange Hill War Memorial, Frank Case.

Joe Hallows’ service record has not survived, but we know quite a lot about his service as he had several letters published in the West Kirby News.

At the end of August 1914 he enlisted as Gunner 5000 in the Royal Field Artillery.


Cap badge used by the Royal Field Artillery, the Royal Horse Artillery & the Royal Garrison Artillery in the First World War

He trained at Newbridge Camp near Dublin, Ireland with some other local lads. These included Frederick Carr, yet another name on the War Memorial.

Unlike the others who swiftly moved to other units, he was still there in October 1914 when both British wounded and German prisoners of war arrived in Dublin.

101c 1914 Nov 7 J Hallows.jpg

West Kirby News 7 November 1914

Joe finally arrived in France on 2 August 1915. He was not to fight in France at this stage, as he was on his way to the Dardanelles. We next hear of him  in the West Kirby News  of 29 January 1916 when he was in hospital in Malta, where he had been for some time. It is not clear from the reports whether he was injured or suffering from illness. By 1 April 1916 he had returned to England by hospital ship and was in hospital in Birmingham. He is referred to as ‘Bombardier’ so had presumably been promoted to an NCO by this stage.

Sadly the next report we have is of his death on 16 October 1918 in France at the age of 28. He was killed instantaneously. His parents were told he was a ‘brave and gallant comrade’.

He is buried at St Aubert British Cemetery and commemorated on Grange Hill War Memorial and the Plaques in St Bridget and St Andrew churches, West Kirby.

St Aubert British Cemetery jpg.jpg

St Aubert British Cemetery

At the request of his father his grave bears the words ‘DUTY NOBLY DONE’.

Birth: Dec 1890 Hoylake, Cheshire
Death: 16 Oct 1918 in France; killed in action
Addresses: Birkett Road, West Kirby (91); 4 South Road, West Kirby (01); Brickfield Cottage, off Sandy Lane, West Kirby (11)
Occupation: greengrocer’s driver for Tottey Bros.
Unit: 27th Battery, 32nd Brigade, Royal Field Artillery
Number and Rank: Corporal; 5000
Medals: 15 Star, Victory and British War
Commemorated and Buried: Saint Aubert British Cemetery, Nord Pas de Calais, France; Grange Hill War Memorial, West Kirby; St Bridget & St Andrew churches, West Kirby
Sources: CWGC, MC, DA, WKN, Census: 91, 01, 11, PR, BR


Bob Hallows photo jpg.jpg

Bob Hallows was born on 2 February 1892 in Hoylake, and baptised at Holy Trinity church on the 28 February.

Like his brother, Joe, he was also a member of the Church Lads Brigade and later West Kirby Swimming Club, though not quite as proficient an athlete as his older brother.

He was employed as a baker’s van man in 1911, so presumably drove a horse and van around the area.

His service record has also been destroyed, so we know less of his war time career. He enlisted at the end of August 1914 as Gunner 92058 in Royal Field Artillery.

RFA cap badge no 2 jpg.jpg

Royal Field Artillery cap badge

From his medal card we know that he commenced overseas service on 1 July 1915. He spent all this service with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, starting in Salonika before being drafted to Egypt. At some stage he was promoted Corporal.

Robert Hallows mc snipped jpg.jpg

He came through all the fighting only to succumb to ‘Spanish Flu’ on 27 December 1918 in the 71st General Hospital in Cairo having been ill for 9 days. He was buried the same day in Cairo War Memorial Cemetery with full military honours.

Cairo War Memorial Cemetery jpg.jpg

Cairo War Memorial Cemetery

At the request of his father his grave bears the words  ‘DUTY NOBLY DONE’.

Bob Hallows was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. The citation reads

Bob Hallows DMC citation jpg.jpg

Birth: 2 Feb 1892 at Hoylake, Cheshire
Death: 28 Dec 1918 at 71st General Hospital, Cairo, Egypt; influenza
Addresses: 4 South Road, West Kirby (01); Brickfield Cottage, off Sandy Lane, West Kirby (11)
Occupation: baker’s van man
Unit: ‘A’ Company, 67th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery
Number and Rank: Corporal; 92058
Medals: DCM, 15 Star, Victory and British War
Commemorated and Buried: Cairo War Memorial Cemetery, Cairo, Egypt; Grange Hill War Memorial, West Kirby; St Bridget & St Andrew churches, West Kirby
Sources: CWGC, MC, DA, WKN, Census: 91, 01, 11, PR, BR



4 thoughts on “Joseph and Robert Hallows

  1. My Grandmother, Joan Hallows, was Robert and Joseph’s niece. Born after their death my grandmother Joan and her Brother Robert were named in honour of their deceased uncles. Joan married my grandfather Arthur Robert “Bob” Price (West Kirby/Hoylake) during the war. They had 2 children, Valerie and Kenneth. They Moved to Canada in the late 40’s, early 50’s and lived in and around Toronto. Joan passed away at 92 in 2013, Bob passed away at 86 several years prior. They lived a good life and always spoke fondly of their childhoods in West Kirby.

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