Arthur Holt

lincolnshire regimental badgePrivate, 25116. 2nd Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, killed in action 16th August 1917, aged 29

Born at Crowle in 1888, Arthur was the second son and one of six children of John and Annie Holt. His father was a farm labourer from Bracken in Yorkshire, and his mother was from Crowle where they lived on Fieldside. Arthur was also a farm labourer and on 25th March 1913 he married Rosa Lock of Thorne. Their daughter Ada was born in June same year and the family lived in Eastoft Road.

Arthur attested for the army at Crowle on the 10th December 1915 aged 27. Placed on the reserve list he was mobilised for the Lincolnshire Regiment on 3rd June 1916. Originally posted to the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, he was transferred to active duty with the 2nd Battalion on 27th September 1916 to reinforce them after their losses during the Battle of the Somme.

On the first day of the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele), 31st July 1917, Arthur and the 2nd Lincoln’s were involved in the Battle of Pilckem Ridge. In the two days in which they captured and then defended Westhoek Ridge, they suffered severe casualties, nearly 250 men including their commanding officer, killed, wounded or missing.

Taken out of the line to rest on 2nd August, the 2nd Lincolnshire’s spent a week behind the lines, at  Dominion Camp, before moving back to Westhoek Ridge during the evening of 13th August. Just in time to suffer a heavy artillery bombardment at 4.30am the next morning. As expected the bombardment was followed up by an infantry attack which they fought off, but not without suffering more casualties. That night the survivors had to undergo another artillery barrage, causing further casualties, but no infantry attack followed. In comparison the 15th August was quiet.

As a result of their involvement at Westhoek Ridge the 2nd Lincoln’s were placed in reserve for the next major British offensive at Langemarck on 16th August. At zero hour, 4.45am, B and D Companies supported 2nd Berkshire Regiment and thirty men of C Company were attached as carriers to the 25th Trench Mortar Battery. At 6.30am with the attack coming to a halt, D and B Companies were moved forward to the front line. Unfortunately this was not enough and coming under heavy pressure the attackers were forced to retreat back to Westhoek Ridge. The German counter-attack came at around 2.30pm that afternoon and A and C Companies, with the 2nd Rifle Brigade, helped defend the eastern slopes of the ridge. They remained here until 11.00pm.

Of the surviving members of the 2nd Lincoln’s who had taken Westhoek Ridge on 31st July, just over three hundred helped defended it on 16th August. In the course of which they suffered 31 men killed, 107 wounded and 36 missing. Among those who died that day was Arthur Holt. He is buried in Bedford House Cemetery.

Arthur is commemorated on the plaque to former members of the congregation and Sunday School in Crowle Methodist Church.