Alfred Holmes

lincolnshire regimental badgePrivate, 40086, 2nd Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, killed in action, 2nd December 1917, aged 29.

Born at Ealand in 1888, Alfred was the second son and one of five children of Jonathon (John) and Annie Elizabeth Holmes (nee Pilsworth). His father was from Belton and his mother from Crowle. When Alfred was born the family lived at 1 Trent Terrace and his father was a drayman for the New Trent Brewery. In 1911 Alfred was a waggoner for Fred Turner, a farmer at Garthorpe.

Alfred enlisted in the Lincolnshire Regiment at Crowle, post 1915. Like several other Crowle men he was posted to the 2nd Lincoln’s and may have served with them in their involvements in the early actions of the Third Battle of Ypres, the capture of Westhoek Ridge and Battle of Langemarck in which Arthur Holt lost his life. Taking some time away from the front line to recover and rebuild, the 2nd Lincoln’s returned to Ypres in November, to occupy trenches near Passchendaele.

The Battle of Passchendaele had ended on the 10th of November but there were still actions in the area. Shortly after arriving in the trenches on 17th November the 2nd Lincoln’s had to fight off an attack where they suffered several casualties, many of whom were ‘gassed’. They were relieved on 19th November but moved back to Passchendaele on 1st December when they were detailed to lead an attack on the German trenches.

At 1.55am on 2nd of December, the 2nd Lincoln’s advanced to the attack. They had hardly got out of the trench when they were spotted by the enemy and came under heavy machine-gun fire. In spite of this they continued to advance, although every officer of the three assaulting companies was a casualty before their own outpost line was reached. Finally the advance stopped in No-Man’s Land about thirty yards from the German trenches and the survivors dug in. They were relived later in the day and moved back to camp at St. Jean.

The 2nd Lincoln’s suffered heavy casualties in the attack through the Passchendaele mud. 18 men were killed, 72 wounded and 25 were missing, among them Alfred Holmes. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.