FHWC 2013 Day 6: Papa John and the Military Mystery Man

FHWC2013JoinMeWhat little I learned about my grandfather, came from brief recollections my father had from (just as brief) conversations with his mother, Emily.

John was born Thursday, February 6th, 1902 in Loughton, Preston, Lancashire, England to Henry HALLIWELL, a railway signalman and the former Caroline MARSLAND. They married in 1898 approximately.

In the 1901 UK Census, Henry is listed as 25yo and Caroline as 23yo; just the two of them

1901 UK Census HALLIWELL

By the 1911 UK Census, they had begun their family.

1911 UK Census for John Halliwell

But, approximately a year later, Henry and Caroline brought their family to Canada.  Still haven’t figured out the reason why yet.

Jumping ahead to 1927 and the next major milestone in Papa John’s life:  his marriage to Gram


A minor transcription error in the marriage registration: Emily’s mother was Delima not “Delina.”  And the first mention of Henry HALLIWELL is John’s father, but the second mention is John’s brother; and Dorothy WHITWORTH would later marry Henry Jnr.

John and Emily had six children, but that cannot be proved until the 1931 and 1941 census records are released.

  • 1928: Frank (still alive as of 2013)
  • 1930: Harry (deceased 1930)
  • 1933: Howard (deceased 1991)
  • 1934: Jack (deceased 2001)
  • 1937: Daniel (deceased 2003)
  • 1939: Elaine (deceased, 2004)
Prior to wedding in 1928
Prior to wedding in 1928

Then on Tuesday, December 5th, 1939, John was dead, leaving his 32-year-old widow, with five small children to raise alone.  The eldest child was eleven years while the youngest was just nine months! (My father, Daniel was 2years-old when he lost his father.).

Flash forward 64 years: it is now 2003.

MiLady and I married in July 2003, and my sons and I had packed up everything we could carry for our move west to be with her in Alberta.  It was then that my father asked if he could have his father’s portrait.  Looking through the U-Haul for the bubble-wrapped package, I found it and gave it to him.

Less than two months later, during the wee small hours in September, the telephone wakes us both.  It is my sister, her voice shaking, trying to tell me that our father had died suddenly.

Mystery Military Man
Mystery Military Man

I flew out immediately and stayed with my brother and his family for about a week to attend the funeral and dispense what little of Dad’s estate survived. My father wanted to be cremated and buried with his parents — and that is what we did.

A couple months later, I got a very odd e-mail from my brother.  He wrote to tell me that he took in Papa John’s beveled glass frame to have it professionally restored/repaired; because moisture got into it somehow and the sepia-tone picture was sticking to the glass.

What came next surprised even me.  The professionals found another photograph under my grandfather’s portrait!

The observations that follow are entirely my own to identify it:

  • I believe the uniform is of the Royal Army, possibly Infantry due to the bandolier (ammunition belt worn over the shoulder and across the chest);
  • the colours appear to be hand-painted, denoting an older photo if compared to the 1928 sepia-tome taken of Papa John NOTE: Papa John’s original photo was in sepia-tones (browns), when it was restored the professionals re-produced it in B&W;
  • the epaulets (shoulder boards) are mis-matched; the right shoulder is empty (left side of picture), but the left shoulder (right side) appears to have something on it, but is not as easy to decypher as that shoulder is in shadow;
  • the insignia pin upon his collar appears to look like a maple leaf — perhaps he is wearing a Canadian uniform — even though the C.E.F. (Canadian Expeditionary Force) was under the flag of England, as Canada had not yet earned it’s liberty to fight under it’s own colours;
  • I believe he was related, as it was not an uncommon practice to re-use picture frames with the previous picture left inside; if he was not related, why would his picture have been kept?

The only problem is identifying which side of the family he is from.  He could be a HALLIWELL, or a MOREAU. He could possibly be related to the MARSLANDs too.

I further to guess: that he served and died in WWI; and those that knew who he was are also gone.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Thank you to Cherel MARTIN (an ATKINSON cousin), for locating the 1901 and 1911 UK Census images for me on such short notice!



  1. Stumbled upon this page through a google search! I am related to Emily Moreau who married John Halliwell. Emily is the daughter of my Great Aunt Delima Desallier and her husband Constant Moreau. You helped me fill in some blanks that gave me the names of Emily and John’s children. Thank you.


    1. Hello, Cousin! Glad I was able to help 🙂
      If you send me a private e-mail, I can send along some research notes that trace about a few generations more.
      I am curious now, where you fit in, Dearie </;)



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