Percy Holmes, killed in the battle of Epehy

Percy was born in 1896, the son of Robert and Annie Holmes. The family moved to Witley in 1907, taking over the White Hart inn.  Percy became a member of the All Saints’ Church choir for six years.  The 1911 census records the family at the White Hart as Robert (53), Annie Harriet (57), Ayliffe Robert (22), Sidney Clay (21) and Percy (15).  Robert was a church-warden, school manager, member of Witley Parish Council and chairman of the committee that arranged the funding and building of Witley War Memorial. Sydney served in the Royal Army Service Corps and married Mary Lester at All Saints Church, Witley in 1917.  Ayliffe served in the Royal Garrison Artillery and married Lily Rands at All Saints’ Church, Witley, in 1914; their daughter, Evelyn Maud was born in 1915 and lived in Witley until her death in September 2006.

Percy joined the East Surrey Regiment in 1914 and became a drill instructor, training men in England. He later served with the Nottinghamshire and Derby Regiment and then the Lincolnshire Regiment in France.  On 18 September 1918, Percy and his battalion took part in the the battle of Epehy, attacking outpost positions of the Hindenburg Line. The left and right wings found the going difficult but the Australians in the centre advanced three miles.  Percy was wounded on 19 September during the attack and died the next day.  Percy was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

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