Private William John Francis Holmes

Regiment: 10th Battalion, South Wales Borderers
Service No:
G/2745 then 40296
Date & place of birth: 1898 in Crondall, Hants
Date & place of death:
25 August 1917 at Ypres, aged 19

William John Francis Holmes’s father was a gamekeeper and the family moved several times between country estates before settling in Lickfold. William enlisted in the Royal Sussex Regiment but was serving in the South Wales Borderers when he was killed in action in the Third Battle of Ypres. His family remained in Lickfold and his parents were buried in Lodsworth cemetery.

Family background

William Holmes was born in 1898 in Crondall, Hants. He was the second of three children of George Edward Holmes, a gamekeeper originally from Great Barton, Suffolk, and his wife Catherine Eliza ‘Kate’, originally from Winchester.

By 1901 they were living in Selborne, Hampshire. By 1911 William was a schoolboy living with his parents at Slong Farm, Lickfold/Bexley Hill, a keeper’s cottage belonging to the Mitford Estate.

Military service

William enlisted in Midhurst and was initially Private G/2745 in the Royal Sussex Regiment. Later he became Private 40296 in the 10th Battalion, South Wales Borderers, part of the Army’s 38th Welsh Division.

Death & commemoration

William was killed in action in the Third Battle of Ypres on 25 August 1917 aged 19.

He is commemorated on panels 65 to 66 of the Tyne Cot Memorial at Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium and on the Lodsworth war memorial.

Subsequent family history

His parents subsequently lived in Leconfield Cottages, now ‘Highstead Corner’, Lickfold.

William’s mother Catherine died on 23 August 1924 aged 65 and his father George Edward in January 1944 aged 74. Both were buried in St Peter’s churchyard Lodsworth

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project