William Charles Holdaway

Date of birth: 1899
Place of birth: Shirley, Southampton
Regiment: Royal Army Medical Corps
Battalion: 26th (3rd Wessex) Field Ambulance
Rank / Service No: Private, 461516
Died: 24th April 1918, aged 19 years
Buried: Pont-de-Metz Churchyard, Amiens, France


William was the younger of 2 sons born to William John and Ethel May Holdaway (nee Bullmore), who married in Southampton in 1895.


The family latterly lived at 39 East Park Terrace in the city centre.


Both parents were born in Southampton, William in 1872 and Ethel in 1875.

William, a publican by trade, died in the city in 1928.


Ethel lived until she was 93, passing away in the city in 1968.


William Charles’ brother was…..


Reginald Leonard   b. 1896 Shirley   d. 1952 Southampton   Married Beatrice E. Chester in Southampton in 1924.



William enlisted in the R.A.M.C in Eastleigh on 19 April 1915, stating his age as 18years 7 months !!


It would appear that he “got away” with overstating his age by 2 years….many did not.


He was originally attested to the Wessex 3/3rd Field Ambulance with Service # 2320; this unit was then incorporated into the 26th Field Ambulance.

The 26th Field Ambulance came in to formation at Hursley Park in October 1914, mostly from regular army units returning from around the British Empire.


The unit was assigned to the 8th Division and landed in France in November 1914.


Interestingly, William was to be found in Hilsea Hospital, from 31 May 1916 until 30 June 1916, with gonorrhea !!


It is also interesting that William did not join the unit until 12 November 1916, landing at Rouen with other new recruits.


William’s is the only WW1 grave in the churchyard; the circumstances of his death are not known.


His headstone reads: “ At rest after the storm.”



Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 30th September 2016


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