Topic: John Alexander Huntley Holmes

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John Alexander Huntley Holmes (Service no. 7/428) was a First World War soldier with links to Halswell.

John Alexander Huntly Holmes John Alexander Huntley Holmes was born on the 22nd of November 1884 in Christchurch. He died in the war only 31 years later. John grew up with his twin sister Mary and his other siblings, John was the second oldest child of Hannah and George Gordon Holmes. The Holmes family made their fortune sheep farming and owned the prestigious "Knocklynn" Manor in Halswell. John was schooled at Christ's College.

A single man his whole life John cut a dashing figure in his prime. With his dark complexion, grey eyes and salt and pepper hair. John would have been an eligible bachelor indeed.

Among the first wave of recruits to sign up to go to war John measured up on 12th of August at the Addington show grounds (at the time he stood five foot ten and a half inches tall and his chest measurement was 39 to 41 inches max). Five days later on the 17th of August 1914 John joined group 9 of the Canterbury Mounted Rifles. Records show that when John signed up he committed to bring his own horse with him.

Travelling by boat with his fellow soldiers John spent nearly two months on the trip to Alexandria, finally landing on the 3rd of December 1914.

After only four months a private John was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal. While fighting in the Dardanelles John was wounded in battle. Taken to the safety of the Number 2 Australian General Hospital in Ghezireh Cairo John's heath worsened and he developed paratyphoid and pneumonia. Combined they overwhelmed him and he died on the 30th of September 1915.

John's body never returned to New Zealand, he was buried in the Cairo War Memorial Cemetery. John is remembered on the Tai Tapu, Pigeon Bay and Halswell War Memorials.

John Alexander Huntly Holmes deceased estate was published in the Hawera & Normanby Star on 8 August 1916 the article lists the value of his estate at £4,266. 


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John Alexander Huntley Holmes

First Names:John Alexander Huntley
Last Name:Holmes
Place of Birth:Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand