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William Holme was born in Chorley, Lancashire in late 1894. He was the youngest child in his Wesleyan family. In 1911 his father John, his mother Isabella and siblings Mary, Herbert and John were all living at 9 Hope Street, Chorley. He had three other siblings (Margaret, Tom and Hannah) that had since left home. At the time of 1911 census, 16 year old William was working as a bookkeeper in the cotton industry.

On 3rd September 1914 William enlisted on a short service engagement (for the duration of the war) in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment at the recruitment station in Chorley. He was given the service number 13394 and posted into the newly raised 10th (Service) Battalion. He was 19 years 9 months old. William had no previous military experience and had been working as a warehouseman.

At his enlistment medical he was described as being 5ft 7.5in tall and weighed 128 lbs. He was of fresh complexion with blue eyes and brown hair. It was noted he had a deformed toe on his left foot but he was fit for service.

Quick to impress during their military training, William was appointed Lance Corporal in November 1914, and then promoted to Corporal the following month.

On 31st July 1915 William sailed to France with the 10th (Service) Battalion.

Further promotions to Lance Sergeant, then Sergeant came in July and November 1915.

William returned to England on 21st February 1916 with an oblique inguinal hernia. He was treated at Merryflats Military Hospital in Govan. He was posted into the 11th (Reserve) Battalion at this time for administrative purposes. He remained in Govan until 5th June 1916 where he was moved Ravenscroft Military Hospital in Seaford for one week. In July 1916, he was appointed (acting) Company Quarter Master at the Regimental Depot. In September he was posted across to the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion.

On 19th May 1917 Sergeant Holme sailed to South Africa having been attached to the King’s African Rifles. He signed a declaration stating;

I, No13394 Sergt William Holme hereby solemnly declare that I am willing to remain in Africa for a year after peace is declared. As witness my hand this 7th May 1917.


William arrived in South Africa on 10th July 1917. Eleven months later a medical board was held at Cape Town where he was recommended for duty at the Kings Africa Rifles Depot in Nairobi, British East Africa.

He returned to the Loyal North Lanc’s depot in Preston in April 1919 for demobilization to Class Z Reserve.

William gave his address at the time of his demobilization as 5 Block Road, Chorley. During his service he incurred no Regimental Entries for misconduct and his character was said to be ‘Very Good’.

In total William Holme served for four years and 284 days. For his war service he received the 1914/15 star, the British War Medal and Victory Medal.

Paul McCormick
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