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William Thurstan Holland (known as Thurstan) was born in Bamber Bridge in the final quarter of 1894.  His father was Thomas Holland, (b. 1856 in Preston) a spinner by trade; his mother was Margaret Alice Lancaster (b. 1860 in Bamber Bridge).  After they married in the late 1870s, Tom and Margaret moved to the School Lane area between Bamber Bridge and Walton Le Dale.  They had 16 children, 13 of whom survived infancy: Joseph (b. 1879), Elizabeth Ellen (b. 1880), Isabella (b. 1883), Peter (b. 1884), Annie (b. 1886), Mary Jane (b. 1888), Thomas (b. 1889), George (b. 1890), John (b. 1893) then Thurstan, then Wilfred (b. 1896), James (b. 1898) and finally Margaret Alice (b. 1903).  Tom died in 1903, aged 47, just a few months after the birth of his youngest daughter.


In 1911, Thurstan, aged 16, was living with his widowed mother and six siblings at 20 School Lane.  He worked as a weaver at Orr’s Mill.  His siblings all worked at the mill except for the youngest Margaret who was still at school.  In 1913, Thurstan married Martha Alice Waterhouse (b. 1892 in Bamber Bridge). 

He enlisted at the outbreak of War in the East Lancashire Regiment, being given service number 17011 and was posted initially to 3rd (Reserve) Battalion then to 7th (Service) Battalion with whom he served abroad.  He landed in France on 18 July 1915.  7Bn E. Lancs. Regt formed part of 56th Brigade of 19th (Western) Division, alongside 7Bn L.N.LAN.R. so these two infantry battalions fought together in the same operations: the Battle of Loos in 1915, then the opening phases of the Battle of the Somme, at Albert (La Boisselle) in early July and then at Pozières later that month.  Initially (1-4 July), the Battalion was in reserve, but it attacked German trenches at La Boisselle on 5-6 July.  They suffered heavy shelling at Hénencourt Wood on 9-11 July, after which they spent a week in training.  On July 20, the Battalion was employed digging new trenches in the ground recently occupied, near Bazentin-Le-Petit and on 22-24 July they engaged in the attempt to capture High Wood, near the village.  No specific action is recorded in the War Diary for 25 July, just that ‘parties were detailed by Brigade’ during the period.  Nevertheless, although fighting was becoming intermittent, it was no less savage; the Diary records, for the period 19-31 July 1916, one officer wounded, and among other ranks 37 killed, 88 wounded, 1 died of wounds, 1 missing, 1 missing believed killed, 3 gassed and 1 shell-shock.  When the final reckoning was made, 46 men from 7Bn were recorded as killed between those dates, including Thurstan Holland, who was 21 years old.


His widow, Martha, remarried in 1917.  Her second husband was Thomas Brindle (b. 1897 in Preston) and Martha and Thomas went on to have 4 children.


Rank:  Private

Service No:  17011

Date of Death:  25/07/1916

Regiment/Service:  East Lancashire Regiment, 7th Bn.

Panel Reference:  Pier and Face 6 C.



The Holland family featured in a series of articles in the Preston Guardian about patriotic families.  The article appeared in May 1916.

Cpl. Joseph (b. 1879) was later promoted to Sergeant.  He was 02420 Sgt. J. Holland, Army Ordnance Corps.  He landed in France on 11 July 1915.


Thomas (b. 1889) was 03394 Pte. T. Holland of the Army Ordnance Corps.  He enlisted on 31 December 1914 and arrived in Egypt on 14 October 1915.  He was subsequently transferred to the Loyal North Lancs Regiment with service number 36451 and discharged on 29 January 1919.


George (b. 1890) is 8983 Pte. (later Sgt.) G. Holland.  He served with 2Bn KRRC and arrived in France on 13 August 1914.  Just after this article was printed in the Preston Guardian, George was awarded the Military Medal (announced in the London Gazette, 13 October 1916).  He was later promoted to Sergeant.


Pte. John Holland joined the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment with service number 16 and landed in France on 4 May 1915 with 4th (later 1/4th) Battalion.  He was promoted to Corporal and then to Sergeant.  At some stage (but after the beginning of 1917) he was transferred to the Hampshire Regiment with a new service number 205922 and he served with 1st (Garrison) Battalion.


The Preston Guardian article says Thurstan was in the Loyal North Lancs Regt., whereas he was actually in the East Lancs Regt.


Wilfred (b. 1896) was 202005 Pte. W. Holland 2/4 Bn. L.N.LAN.R.  2/4 Bn went to France in February 1917 and Wilfred was killed at L’Epinette, near Armentières, on 10 August 1917, aged 21.


Peter (b. 1884) was a time-expired soldier with 9 years’ service.

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