2nd Lieutenant George Francis Edwin HOLMES


Regiment/Service:
Sherwood Foresters
(Notts and Derby Regiment)
Unit:
15th Battalion
Service Number:
(17395)
Date of Death:
25 October 1916 - Killed in Action
Age:
26
Cemetery / Memorial:
Grave Number:
I. H. 15.


Personal History:
George was born in Kentish Town, London on 29th August 1890, the only son of Edwin (Railway Engine Fitter) and Mary Ann (née Morley) Holmes, later of 156 Uttoxeter Old Road, Derby.

In 1901 (Census RG13/3266) the family were living at 41 Midland Cottages, Darley (near Rowsley), Derbyshire. George was educated at Lady Manners School, Bakewell, Derbyshire. He had a younger sister, Edith Mary. By 1911 (Census RG14/21237) they had moved to 18 London Road, Buxton, and George was employed as a 'Clerk'.



















Military History:
George enlisted into the 12th Battalion, Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment) on 4th September 1914 and was promoted to Sergeant. According to his Medal Index Card he entered France on 29th August 1915 and was Gazetted 2nd Lieutenant on 9th August 1916 (London Gazette, 5 September 1916) and attached to the 15th Battalion. He took part in actions at Loos, La Bassée and Ypres, before being killed in action by a shell at Arras on 25th October 1916.

The Battalion History tells us that they had spent most of October in the trenches at Arras,
planning a major raid on enemy trenches "... involving over a hundred men, days of detailed
planning and many pages of instructions."

George was the only member of his Battalion to be killed in action on the 25th October, with
three more the following day. He now lies with two of those men in Faubourg D'Amiens
Cemetery.

His Colonel wrote of George: "His fearlessness and the affection he was held in by his men
was shown by the way they wee willing to go anywhere with him, and his wonderful
cheerfulness at all times was the means of helping them in many tight corners."

George kept on his person two letters, in the event of his death - the first, to the person finding
his body, read:
"If I get killed, will the person finding me, kindly forward this note to my family at home. Mr &
Mrs Holmes, 156 Uttoxeter Old Road, Derby, England"

The poignant letter home read:
"Dear Mother & Dad & Sister
It is God's good-will that I am called away from this awful strife to rest with Him in His Heaven.
I have done my bit for the furthering of Right and Justice. My conscience is clear & my heart is light, therefore do not grieve for me, but live on, full of joy and be thankful that I am taken away defending my country and fighting for the sake of you all & the friends of whom I have so many. Some day I shall meet you, my dear ones, where we shall be eternally happy & free from care. Death has no sting for me, for Jesus Christ is with me constantly.
Cheer up Dad, Mother & sis & be proud of your soldier lad.
God bless you all & keep you, as he has kept me.
Your loving lad
2nd Lieut. Geo. Francis Holmes
15th Sherwood Foresters"


Sources:
· De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour, Volume 3, page 143
· George's letters: "MISSING LINKS: A Magazine for Genealogists - Vol. 6, No. 44, 11 November 2001"
· 'Scritch' via the Great War Forum, for his photos of George's memorials in Derby
· "The Blast of War. a History of Nottingham's Bantams. 15th (S) Battalion Sherwood Foresters 1915-1919"
   by Bacon and Langley (ASIN: B002THRHFI)


Link to CWGC Record
St Luke's Church Memorial Derby
George's name on the St Luke's Church Memorial Derby
George's name on the Midland Railway Memorial, Derby
George's name on the Midland Railway Memorial, Derby
George's name in the Midland Railway Memorial Book, Derby
2/Lt Holmes' Grave
poppy
Midland Railway Memorial, Derby
The Memorial was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, to commemorate the 2,833 men of the Midland Railway who were killed in the Great War of 1914 - 1918, and was unveiled on Thursday 15th December 1921