Private Albert John Holland

Private 15659 Albert John Holland was the eldest son of the family and had been named after his father. In 1901, when the national census was taken, the family was living at 7 Baker's Terrace, Stockport (and later at 114 Lancashire Hill). Albert, senior, then 46, worked as a gardener. His wife, Sarah, was 43. Six children were living at home - Elizabeth (20), Albert (18), Herbert (14), Frank (12), Edward (10) and Leonard (6).

At the time, Albert was working as a miller in a gas engine works but later became a gardener like his father. In 1911, he married Amy Alice Smith at All Saints' Church, Heaton Norris. They set up home together at 6 or 16 Morton Street and, over the coming years, would have two sons.

Albert enlisted into the 1st Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers in November 1915 and would have gone overseas in the early spring of 1916 as part of draft of replacements for casualties.

On 15 June, Albert and his comrades moved into assembly positions a couple of kilometres east of the town centre of Ypres (now Ieper) in preparation for an attack on German held positions called the Bellewaarde Spur. The next day, "B" Company attacked on the left reaching their objective after coming under shell and rifle fire. On the right, "A" Company reached it's objectives with little loss. The gains were consolidated and held until 11pm, when the Battalion was relieved from the front line. Albert was amongst the 479 casualties (dead, wounded or missing). He was posted as missing and it would not be until February 1916 that the War Office made an official presumption that he must have been killed.

He had probably been killed by shellfire and simply disappeared. Certainly his body was never found and identified and he is commemorated on the Memorial to the Missing at Ieper.

By permission of  More Than A Name