The Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment

Major V Holden


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Major Vernon HOLDEN,  10th Battalion,  Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment,  attached The Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment, died of wounds, 2nd October 1918, age 25, at No.17 Field Ambulance, from wounds received in action the previous day, while in Command of the Battalion.

Born 7th January 1893, Culworth, Northamptonshire. Eldest Son of Joseph Edward Holden, (Headmaster of  Sir Henry Fermor School, Crowborough, Sussex), and Annie Eliza Holden, (daughter of W W Frost of Netherton, Worcestershire), of Crowborough, Sussex.

Educated at Sir Henry Fermor School, Crowborough, Sussex & Skinners School, Tunbridge Wells, Kent. On leaving school he joined the staff of the local branch of the London County, Westminster and Paris Bank, later moving to their Maidstone Branch.


1911 Census - Sir Henry Fermor School, Crowborough, Sussex - Joseph Edward Holden, head, age 45, married, head teacher, Public Elementary, East Sussex County Council, born Netherton, Worcestershire; Annie Eliza Holden, wife, age 44, married 22 years, 3 children, all still alive, assistant teacher, Public Elementary, East Sussex County Council, born Netherton, Worcestershire; Vernon Holden, son, age 18, single, bank clerk, born Culworth, Northamptonshire; Cyril Holden, son, age 15, single, school, born Culworth, Northamptonshire; Grace Evans, servant, age 25, single, general servant, domestic, born Westminster, Middlesex.


Formerly Bank Clerk in the London County Westminster & Parr's Bank.

August 1915, enlisted as Lance Corporal, in the Kings Royal Rifles; November 1915, received a Commission and Gazetted 2nd Lieutenant, Royal West Kent Regiment; 4th May 1916, served with the Expeditionary Force France & Flanders from where he saw much fighting taking part in the Battle of Flers, 15th September 1916 and many other engagements; November 1916, promoted Lieutenant; March 1917, promoted Captain; Summer 1917, won his M.C.; November 1917, after brief service on the Italian front, he was appointed Commandant of a Brigade School; Spring 1918, returned to the Western Front, at the time of the great German offensive; April 1918, promoted Adjutant; May 1918, promoted Major & Commanding Officer of the 41st Divisional Reception Camp; awarded the DSO for his leadership and courage in the fighting in the Albert sector; July 1918, he received both the DSO & MC from the King at Buckingham Palace; rejoined his Regiment in August 1918; 1st October 1918, mortally wounded.

3rd February 1919, Probate - Holden Vernon of Sir Henry Fermor's Schoolhouse, Crowborough, Sussex, died 2nd October 1918 in Belgium. Administration Lewes 3rd February to Joseph Edward Holden, schoolmaster. Effects £351 16s 10d.

Buried at Hagle Dump Cemetery, VI. E. 4., Belgium.

AWARDS: D.S.O. & M.C.


London Gazette 15th December 1915.

The under mentioned to be temporary Second Lieutenants -  Vernon Holden. Dated 3rd December, 1915.

London Gazette 5th February 1917.

Royal West Kent Regiment - Temporary 2nd Lieutenant V. Holden to be temporary Lieutenant - 27 November 1916.

London Gazette 24th May 1917.

Royal West Kent Regiment. -  Temporary Lieutenant V. Holden to be acting Captain whilst commanding a Company - 19 March 1917.

London Gazette 11th July 1917.

Royal West Kent Regiment. - The under mentioned temporary Lieutenants  to be temporary Captains : 

V. Holden (acting Captain). -  4 February 1917.

London Gazette 26th September 1917.

His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to confer the Military Cross on the under mentioned Officers and Warrant Officers in recognition of their gallantry and devotion to duty in the Field :

Temporary Captain Vernon Holden, Royal West Kent Regiment 

London Gazette 9th January 1918.

With reference to the awards conferred as announced in the London Gazette, dated 26th Sept., 1917, the following are the statements of service for which the decorations were conferred.

AWARDED THE MILITARY CROSS

Temporary Captain Vernon Holden, Royal West Kent Regiment 

Night of 31st July 1917 - 1st August 1917 - For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He organised the consolidation of his battalion front under heavy machine gun and rifle fire, continually going to and fro to advanced battalion headquarters, through heavy fire, to report personally upon the situation. All the other officers were casualties, and his courage and splendid personal example, under trying circumstances, were of the utmost value.

London Gazette 26th July 1918.

Royal West Kent Regiment - Temporary Captain V Holden, to be temporary Major. 24th March 1918.

London Gazette 16th September 1918.

His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to approve of the following Awards to the under mentioned Officers and Warrant Officers, in recognition of their gallantry and devotion to duty in the Field:

AWARDED THE DISTINGUISHED SERVICE ORDER.

Temporary Captain Vernon Holden, M.C., Royal West Kent Regiment 

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during an enemy advance. When his battalion was surrounded he withdrew his company with marked skill through the enveloping enemy, and collected men near him and formed a new line of defence. Throughout his fine leadership and coolness under most difficult circumstances were of a high order.

London Gazette 28th December 1918.

War Office, 28th December 1918. - The following is a continuation of Sir D Haig's Despatch of the 8th November, submitting names deserving of special mention:

Royal West Kent Regiment - Holden, Temporary Major V., DSO., MC., 10th Battalion. (killed in action).


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