1045805 Battery Quartermaster Sergeant William Stephen Holcombe of the 9th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, was one of those 217 men to die on this day in 1944. He was a regular soldier; an Old Contemptible who had enlisted in 1913, served throughout the First World War and who subsequently extended his service. His medal index card (below, courtesy of Ancestry) notes the same regimental number that appears on his headstone in Ilkley Cemetery.
Findmypast has William Holcombe in its Royal Artillery attestation registers which, in turn, sheds more light on the man and his service.
- William was born at South Norwood, Croydon and was a seaman before he enlisted with the Royal Field Artillery
- He originally attested on the 7th January 1913 and was given the number 71580
- He extended his colour service at various points ( his number 1045805 dates to February 1919) and re-enlisted on 3rd July 1939
- He married Violet Maud Smith at Woolwich on Christmas Day 1917 and the couple had two children: Francis William Smith (born 28th September 1921) and Reta Violet Smith (born 23rd March 1926).
- He was discharged from the army on 10th December 1943 under paragraph 392 (xvi) of King's regulations 1940. This paragraph deals with discharges as a result of "ceasing to fulfil army physical requirements" and could imply that he was discharged as a result of wounds
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes that William was the husband of Violet Maud Holcombe of Stratford, Essex which, coming full circle, brings me back again to my grandfather Walter who was born in Stratford in 1893.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.