14 May 2010

HOLDEN Albert Edward


Private SE/1306 Army Veterinary Corps
Died on Wednesday 16th December 1914

Buried: Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, Grave III.B.66

Albert Holden was baptised on the 19th May 1872 at Steyning, Sussex, the son of George Holden, a labourer, and his wife Jane. Albert was a middle child in a large family and also part of a large extended family, as at that time Steyning was full of Holden relatives. By the time of the 1901 census he was living at 3, Littlecroft Cottages, North Road, Lancing, where he boarded at the home of Edward and Mary Comper, and worked as a carter, delivering coal locally. His details from the 1911 census are identical, so this single man spent a long time before the war living and working in Lancing, and must have been a well-known character in the village.

He enlisted early in the war, and maybe it was his experience working with horses during his employment as a carter that encouraged him to join the Army Veterinary Corps. His medal index card shows that he arrived in France on the 8th December 1914, and joined his unit which was No.10 Veterinary Hospital. Within a week he had succumbed to illness, and he died on Wednesday 16th December 1914 at the age of forty-two. He is buried at Boulogne Eastern Cemetery - just a footstep into France.

Albert Holden's page on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Debt of Honour Register carries the additional information:

Brother of Harry Holden, of 3, Hill Side Terrace, Steyning, Sussex

Harry Holden was one of the eldest of Albert's brothers, and having been born in 1864 was too old for military service in the Great War. However his son, Harry William Holden, Albert's nephew, also lost his life, being killed in action in 1917, and his name appears on the memorial plaque at St. Andrew's Church, Steyning.


No comments: