Private Frank Holland was killed in action on 1st October 1917 whilst serving with the 2nd Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Aged 36, he was the youngest of the nine children (four sons, five daughters) of parents James (a jeweller) and Hannah (nee Kiffin) who had married in 1859 and set up home in Aston and then in Handsworth.
By 1911, Frank had moved to Solihull, where he was working as a printer. He was living in the High Street with three of his unmarried sisters – Kate ( born 1870), Minnie (born 1872, working as a school teacher) and Alice (born 1878, working on her own account as a china dealer).
We don’t know when Frank enlisted with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, but he doesn’t seem to have served overseas before 1916. On 30th September 1917, the Battalion moved out of their camp at the village of Dickebusch, being played out by the drums of the 11th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, and moved into position in dugouts and Hooge tunnel. The Battalion War Diary describes the formation of 100 men into a carrying party on 1st October to carry ammunition to the 1st Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Some 50 men were working for the 22nd Machine Gun company for carrying purposes, and a further 250 were carry trench boards from Hooge Crater, under the supervision of the Royal Engineers.
We don’t know which of the activities Frank Holland participated in but he must be one of the casualties listed for the period 1st-3rd October as 2 killed; 26 wounded; 6 missing; 8 shell shock. As Frank Holland’s body was never identified, it seems likely that he was one of the six men listed as missing.
He is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, and also on Solihull war memorial and at St Augustine’s Catholic Church, Solihull.
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