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Holden 1Frederick Holden was born on the 2nd May 1885 in Kirkham the only child of James and Isabella Holden (nee Wilding). His parents married on Valentine’s Day in 1885 in the parish church of St. Michael`s in Kirkham.

By 1901 James Holden had died and Fred and his mother were living in Freckleton Street in Kirkham with an Aunt Margaret Whittle. Fred and his mother Isabella were both employed in a local mill as cotton weavers at the time.

On the 1st September, 1906 Fred married local girl Mary Roberts in St. Michael`s Church in Kirkham and the following month, a son, Charles Frederick was born. By 1911 Fred, Mary and son Charles were living at 112 Marsden Street and Mary`s widowed mother Ellen Roberts and her brother Charles were living just a couple of doors away. Both Fred and Mary were working in one of the local cotton mills nearby.

Sadly Fred`s wife Mary passed away on the 21st October, 1912 just six years after they were married.

After war was declared Fred along with many other men from Kirkham and the surrounding areas answered the call for recruits and he enlisted at Preston on the 2nd September 1914. He was posted to “B” Coy, 7th Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. Fred had his medical and was described as having a fair complexion, brown eyes and fair hair. He had no previous military experience and confirmed he had been working as a spinner prior to his enlistment. Fred`s eight year old son Charles was left in the care of a Mrs Clarkson who was named in Fred`s papers as the `guardian` of his son.

Fred sailed to France with the main body of the 7th Battalion on the 17th July 1915. The Battalion came under the command of the 56th Brigade of the 19th (Western) Division and in September of 1915 they took part in the Battle of Loos.

The Battalion spent the month of October to the north of the Loos battle area, either up in forward positions between Richebourg l`Avoue and Festubert or in the rear in billets and though this period may be described as comparatively peaceful, casualties were by no means few in number.

On the 2nd October 1915 Fred was struck by a single bullet in his left side. He was carried back to the trenches and treated and then sent to an aid post where sadly he died from his wounds.


The following information was published in the Preston Guardian newspaper not long after Fred`s mother had been informed of his death.

“Pte. Fred Holden (7th Battalion L.N.L. Regiment), Freckleton Street, Kirkham was killed in France on the 2nd inst. Private Holden`s mother has received a letter from Captain Thomas “B” Company informing her that her son was struck by a bullet in his left side whilst out with a small party at a listening post 20 yards in front of our lines. He was carried to the trenches where he had his wound dressed and then removed to the aid post. Captain Thomas adds; I cannot tell you how sad we all feel at losing such a good friend and comrade. I have known him since the beginning of the war and had always admired his keenness to serve his country and his devotion to his fellow soldiers, who are all keen now to avenge his death. We all offer you our deepest sympathy in your great loss and hope that you will find his child a means of keeping his memory fresh and honoured and a source of consolation in your sorrow. He has paid the great price any true Briton must be prepared to pay, namely to die for his near ones and his country, and he died a noble death – an example to all his fellow men”.

The guardian of Fred`s son was later awarded a pension of 5/- per week with effect from the 1st May, 1916.

Fred was buried with honour in Le Touret Military Cemetery, Richebourg-L`Avoue, France.


Photograph: August 2015

Private Fred Holden was awarded the 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals which his mother Isabella later signed for.

His name is also remembered on the Kirkham War Memorial and on the War Memorial inside St. Michael`s Church, the church where he was christened and later married.

st michaels

Additional family information

Fred`s wife Mary Roberts had a brother – 23619 Private Charles Roberts, 1st Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. Charles Roberts was killed in action on the 25th July 1916 during the Battle of the Somme.

Rank: Private
Service No: 13910
Date of Death: 02/10/1915
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 7th Bn.

Janet Davis
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