HOLLAND, William George Sydney

No.850, Sergeant, William George Sydney HOLLAND
Aged 32

6th Australian Field Artillery Brigade.
Died of his Wounds on Friday, 1st November 1918

William George Sydney Holland was born on 4th November 1885 in Bunyip, Gippsland, Victoria, first son of John and Eliza Snell HOLLAND (née POPE) later of 91 Cowper Street, Footscray, Melbourne. His mother was born in Exeter, Devon, England, father was born Brighton, Victoria, Australia. Melbourne.

He enlisted on 3rd June 1915 in Melbourne, giving his age as 29 years 11 months, a farmer, he was 5 feet 11 inches (180.3 cm) tall, weighed 168 lbs (76.4 kg) and chest 38" to 41.5" (96.5 to 105.4 cm).
3/6/1915 to 10/6/15 in Depot then to Reinforcements 13th Light Horse Regiment. He embarked in Melbourne on "Malakata" on 23/9/15, Promoted Corporal 20/11/1915 then temp Sergeant on 23/12/1915. His promotions (and demotions) were frequent due to the way the Australians promoted many temporarily to fill an establishment then demoted when the original NCO returned, plus he did on occasion request a demotion.

By 20th November 1915 he was in Heliopolis in the Composite Light Horse. On 11th January 1916 he joined 2nd Divisional Ammunition Column and on 1st February joined 6th Field Artillery Brigade. On 23rd March 1916 he left Zeitoun for Alexandria and embarked there on 21st for Marseilles where he arrived and joined the BEF on 27th March. On 1st February 1917 he was with 6th Field Artillery Brigade and on 7th June 1917 promoted to Bombardier
Promoted to Sergeant on 14th September 1918, he was gassed on 18th October 1918 when his unit was in the area of Esnes, SE of Cambrai. Taken to 41 Casualty Clearing Station on 19th November 1918 then to 22 General Hospital, Camiers on 20th before joining No 48 Ambulance Train on 25th and via "Princess Elizabeth" to England on 26th. He arrived at Suffolk War Hospital, Ampton on 27th and died there at 3 am on 1st November 1918 as a result of gassing and bronchial pneumonia.

An Australian official report of the funeral :-
" The deceased soldier was accorded full military funeral, firing party, bugler and pall bearers being in attendance.The coffin - of good polished elm- was draped with the Union Jack and surmounted by beautiful wreathes sent from Hospital Staff, Ampton, Bury St Edmunds. The "Last Post" was sounded at the graveside and the burial service conducted by Rev Wickham of Bury St Edmunds. the grave will be turfed and an oak cross erected by the A.I.F. London, who were represented at the funeral."

There appears to have been confusion over addresses, resulting in a newspaper advert for his next of kin. As well as his parents, a relative was found, cousin Mr Reader of 51 Haydon Park Road, Wimbledon. His mother had written on 23rh November for his address as she had just posted a package and the Post Office told her it was unlikely to reach him at the address given. She also pointed out that his father had omitted to request the message on his head stone and she wanted the verse "With pride too great for tears, we face the coming years, remembering the dead". It appears that was too late.

As with most Australian service records there are many pages (77 here) but many are duplicates and much is hand written and over written. Sorting out the salient points and dates cab be extremely difficult, especially with regard to promotions and transfers between different unit.

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William Holland is buried in Ingham (St Bartholomew) Churchyard, grave C:1

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details