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Holmans, Horace Arthur

Horace Arthur Holmans
1939 - 1945 Star
1939 - 1945
1939 - 1945 War Medal
1939 - 1945
War Medal
Corporal Horace Arthur Holmans (1870370)
Died on Wednesday 14th June 1944, aged 28
66 Field Coy., Royal Engineers
Son of Horace and Eliza (Cooch) Holmans; husband of Dorothy Violet Holmans, of Hurst, Berkshire.
Buried:Bayeux War Cemetery
X. M. 12.

Horace Arthur Holmans was born in St Mary's Hospital, Paddington 25th August 1915; his mother Eliza previously Wright née Cooch died when he was two and half years old and his father Horace Holmans, three years later. He along with his sister and youngest half brother were sent to a childrens' home in Reading; Horrie as he was always known and sister Emmie were then fostered in different places in Hurst village, Horrie on his own with a very strict foster mother. The half brothers went to Waltham St Lawrence. He attended Hurst Boys School and on leaving moved to another foster mother and served his apprenticeship for Carpenter Joiner under Mr Claude Johnston in Hurst.

When aged 18 he enlisted in the Royal Engineers, on 10th October 1933 at Reading, he signed up for twelve years, for the first 4 years with the Colours and the remaining eight years in the Army Reserves.

On 1st September 1934 Horace Arthur Holmans married Margaret Coombs, their daughter was born the following year. His service records show he was in UK until 14th November 1935, then served in Aden, followed by Singapore, where the Royal Engineers built the road to Changi Prison. He did not return home until 22nd February 1938, when he discovered his wife had not waited for him.

He served in Army Reserves from 21st May 1938 until he was 'called up' in June 1939. When not on duty he worked along side his half brothers, all in the building trade.

His records show his Military Conduct was very good; he was recorded, 'as an honest and sober man of above the average character. Smart and a good worker, he has self confidence and initiative and can be trusted on his own. Takes an interest in his job. Has done well as attendant on Lister engine.'

Horrie and his sister Emmie had remained in contact with Mrs Silvester, her son and daughters, and on 31st October 1940 Horace Arthur Holmans married Dorothy Violet Silvester at Wokingham Register Office. Their son Alan was born in 1942.

He served 62 days in France in BEF returning on 31st May 1940; then returned to France on D-Day, after a few days of action, on proceeding through the fields to dismantle the Batterie de Longues, he was killed from shrapnel from a landmine, on 14th June 1944. He is buried in Bayeux War Cemetery, in Calvados.

His daughter was born posthumously in November.

On 6th June 1984 his widow visited Normandy as a member of the official Ministry of Defence party, one of the 40 War widows; where Her Majesty The Queen attended, the 40th Anniversary of the D-Day landings.

With approval from the French, Normandy and Calvados officials and assistance from The Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Dorothy Violet Holmans ashes were interred by her son, daughter and two granddaughters in her husbands grave in Bayeux.


Horace Holmans at Bayeux War Cemetery
Bayeaux War Cemetery, Calvados
To a happy life
came a sudden end
he died as he lived
everyone's friend

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in morning
We will remember them.
Lawrence Binyon