Herbert SIDNEY Holly

Date of birth: 1885
Place of birth: Southampton
Regiment: Somerset Light Infantry
Battalion: 1st
Rank / Service No: Private, 29225
Died: 1st September 1918, aged 33 years
Buried: Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension, France (Plot IV, Row G, Grave 49)


Sidney was the sixth of 7 siblings born to John and Ann Holly (nee Hyde), who married in Alderbury, Wiltshire on 14 November 1870.


Ann Bruton had married George Hyde on 10 October 1866 in Salisbury. It is not known why the relationship stopped, but the couple did produce 2 children.


Half Siblings

William   b. 1867 Salisbury   d. 1932 Southampton

Georgina   b. 1868 Salisbury   d. ??   Married Joseph Wilson in Southampton in 1890.


Interestingly, Ann had been born in Southampton in 1848 and John had been born in Salisbury in 1849.


It is not known when Ann passed away, but John died in Portswood in 1903.



Thomas John   b. 1871 Salisbury   d. 1888 Southampton

Walter ERNEST   b. 1874 Salisbury   d. ?? Married Eleanor (Nellie) Cousens in Southampton in 1897.

Clara Rose   b. 1879 Southampton   d. 1932 Southampton Married Henry James Toms in Southampton in 1902.

Alfred JAMES   b. 1881 Southampton   d. 1955 Willesden Married Florence A. Archdeacon in Portswood in 1905.

Frederick George   b. 1883 Southampton   d. 6 August 1915 Turkey  Married Annie Frances Ellen Davis in Portswood in 1907. See separate story.

Herbert SIDNEY  

Jesse Charles   b. 1887 Southampton   d. 1962 Southampton   Married Ellen Isabella Alexander in Portswood in 1908.


Sidney married Muriel Kate Taylor in Portswood in 1905. It appears the couple only had one child…….


Reginald Robert John   b. 10 May 1909 Portswood   d. 1990 Colchester   Married Dora K. Frampton in Woolwich in 1931. Married Sarah J. Elms in Lewisham in 1961.


Muriel had been born in Bournemouth in 1888. After Sidney’s death, she and her son must have moved to Woolwich because Muriel married Frederick H. Quinn there in 1919.

She married there once again, in 1942, to Bertram F. Payne.

Muriel passed away in Woolwich in 1968.


Sidney had originally attested into a Hampshire battalion (# 5257). It is not known why he transferred, and his service number suggests that he was not in the first draft.


The 1st Battalion, as part of the 11th Infantry Brigade in the 4th Division, landed in France just 2 weeks after the outbreak of war.

They were soon in action at Le Cateau, before becoming embroiled in the retreat from Mons.


Early October 1914 saw the battalion in trenches in Ploegsteert Wood in Belgium, where they remained for the rest of the winter.


April 1915 saw the battalion in the Second Battle of Ypres, where many men were lost.


On July 1st 1916, the battalion was part of the 14 British Divisions that attacked the German lines in the Battle of the Somme.

That first day saw the battalion lose 500 men, either killed, wounded or missing. There followed an understandable period of relative calm, whilst both sides took stock.


In April 1917, the battalion was heavily involved in the Battle of Arras before being withdrawn to rear trenches.


The Division was also at rest near Arras when the German offensive started in March 1918. They helped defend Arras and then lost 4,800 men in the April during the Battle of the Lys.


When the Allied counter-offensive started, the 4th Division was attached to the Canadian Corps at Arras.

It would have been during the build-up to an operation on enemy lines near Drocourt that Sidney lost his life.



Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 30th September 2016


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