Captain Anthony May Capron Hollist MC

Captain AMC Hollist

Regiment: 8th Battalion ‘The Buffs’ East Kent Regiment
Date & place of birth: 19 July 1873 in Plumstead, Kent
Date & place of death: 26 or 27 September 1915 at Loos, France, aged 42

The Hollist family played a leading role in Lodsworth over several centuries and its positive influence can still be seen today. Several of its members served in the armed forces and one of them, the much travelled Anthony May Capron Hollist, served in the Boer War and was killed in World War 1.

Family background

Anthony May Capron Hollist was born in Plumstead, Kent on 19 July 1873 and baptised in Lodsworth on 7 September 1873. He was the eldest son of Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Ommanney Hollist and his wife Ellen Lydia Richarda née Wetherell. He had four siblings: May Capron Hollist, Ella Capron Hollist, Lilian Capron Hollist and Gerald Wetherell Capron Hollist.

In 1894, at the age of 21, AMCH, as he is now known by his family, travelled to New South Wales, Australia to work as a ‘hand’ on a sheep station. After two years he rented 500 acres, cleared it of scrub, planted crops and kept sheep. His family received a detailed account of his progress through the 115 letters he wrote home during this period! In 1898 he returned from Sydney to London on the SS Devonshire.

In 1899 AMCH sailed to New York on SS St Paul. Whilst in North America he pursued several activities including running a milk round.

This was followed by his first period of military service in the Boer War, which is described below.

In 1902, after returning from the Boer War and a short period in the West Indies, AMCH married Katherine Barker at Cocking parish church. She was the only child of Theodore Barker, a solicitor of Gray’s Inn in London and West Meon, Hants. Following their marriage AMCH was posted back to St Lucia and Katherine was able to accompany him. On returning to the UK they lived temporarily in West Meon whilst Highbuilding in Fernhurst was made suitable for them.

AMCH and his wife had two daughters, Lucy Capron Hollist born in West Meon on 29 January 1906 and Susan Capron Hollist born in Fernhurst on 12 May 1912.

Military career

Lieut AMC Hollist in Boer War uniform
Lieut AMC Hollist in Boer War uniform

AMCH served in the Boer War, in World War 1 and as a reservist in the interval between the two.

The Times reported on 7 December 1900:

 “AMCH was in the United States of America when the Boer War broke out, but was so anxious to go to South Africa that he shipped on board a vessel engaged in the transport of mules, and, having landed he lost no time in enlisting as a trooper in the South African Light Horse and went through every battle to the relief of Ladysmith. In recognition of his services he was given a commission and, as soon as he was gazetted to a Lieutenancy in the West India Regiment, Mr Hollist came home on his way to Jamaica.”

Between the Boer War and World War 1 he held various commissions, first in the West India Regiment and in 1905 in the Hampshire ‘Carabiniers’ Yeomanry.

At the outbreak of World War 1 AMCH held the rank of Lieutenant in the Sussex Territorial Force Reserve. On 30 September 1914 he re-joined the regular army as a Temporary Captain in the 8th Battalion ‘The Queen’s’ Royal West Surrey Regiment. For three months in 1915 he commanded the 24th Divisional Cyclist Company; and from 13 July 1915 he re-joined his regiment and served on the Western Front as full Captain of ‘A’ Company 8th Battalion ‘The Buffs’ East Kent infantry Regiment.

 

West Sussex Gazette 7 Sept 1916
West Sussex Gazette 7 Sept 1916

Death & commemoration

AMCH was posted missing in the Battle of Loos in September 1915 and eventually declared dead by a letter dated December 1916. He was 42. No details of his death have ever been discovered.

His name is inscribed on the Loos Memorial, which commemorates over 20,000 allied soldiers who fell in the battle. The memorial is sited near Loos-en-Gohelle in the Pas-de-Calais. He is also commemorated on the Camelsdale, Fernhurst, Linchmere and Lodsworth war memorials in Sussex.

Captain Anthony May Capron Hollist remembered on the Loos Memorial
Captain Anthony May Capron Hollist remembered on the Loos Memorial

Subsequent family history

Following AMCH’s death, his widow Katherine farmed their estate, supported by the family trusts. She became a parish councillor and for the rest of her life played an extremely active role in her local communities in Fernhurst and Lodsworth. She died in 1977 aged 99 years.

Their eldest daughter Lucy remained unmarried and lived with and supported her mother for the rest of Katherine’s life. Lucy died in 1997.

Their younger daughter Susan married her cousin Cecil Hollist Barnes in 1939 in Chichester Cathedral. Cecil Barnes was the son of Herbert Cooper Barnes and Lilian Capron Hollist. Their two sons are Anthony (Tony) Hollist Barnes and Robin Hollist Barnes. Cecil Barnes died in 1988 and his widow Susan in 2006.

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project