LANCE CORPORAL CHARLES FENTON HOLT, #G/6827, 6/THE BUFFS (EAST KENT REGIMENT)
The Holt Family name is synonymous but not exclusive to the weaving industry in the Midland district of England. Specifically the family "Holt" can be traced back to 1626 when Charles Holt of Balderstone Hall, Rochdale was mentioned as a freeholder farmer and weaver farming thirty acres around the Hall. The Holt Family remain known in Rochdale to this day.
|Alice Holt, born 1877, Rochdale, Lancashire, England|
|The Thorold Woolen Cotton Mfg. Co.|
Charles Holt can be found in both the 1901 and 1911 English Censuses as living with his mother in Rochdale, being single and employed as a "cotton mule piecer". The family was living in the same Rochdale neighbourhood as their original 1600-era ancestors. With the start of the Great War, Charles attested into Kitchener's Regular Army, Cavalry of the Line in Rochdale September 5, 1914. At that time he gave his birthplace as Toronto, Canada. After training, Private Charles Holts was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). Home address was given as 65 Broad Lane, Rochdale with his next of kin his mother. Sent to the battlefield June 1915 with the 6th (Service) Battalion of the Buffs, Charles was wounded and suffered shell shock April 4, 1916. Returning to his unit, he was given 10 days leave in England December 1916. Other than his promotion to Lance Corporal there is no major notations on his service record until July 12, 1917 when the notes read "Killed In Action".
|Lance Corporal Charles Fenton Holt|
"On the 1st July the 6th moved from Arras to the Wancourt Line, on on that date it mustered 33 officers but only 483 other ranks. While in this sector it was sometimes in front, sometimes in support and sometimes further back.
Amongst the various excavations on this region is what is known as "The Long Trench" which, commencing about 1,200 yards south of Keeling Copse, runs southward and is continued in that direction by Tool Trench. In this long work was the 6th Battalion on the 10th July, when it received orders to raid the enemy's shell holes east of Tool Trench at 7:30 a.m. the next day. The enemy, however, had made his own plans and, taking the initiative himself, attacked at 5:00 a.m. after an exceptionally heavy bombardment of guns of all sorts and sizes, smoke and liquid fire being also used. This heavy rain of projectiles was directed not only on Long and Tool Trench's, but also on the supports. The infantry attack was directed mainly on Long Trench, and the Germans managed to penetrate at one point after feinting or making a holding attack along the whole front of it. Having effected his penetration he rapidly deployed and occupied shell holes in our rear or on our side. 2nd Lieut. Stevens, who was holding a post nearby, at once realized the situation and organized and carried out a counter-attack along Long Trench, and almost at the same time L/Cpl Edgington and two men, who were all on duty with the 37th Brigade Sniping Company, seeing that the attack was serious, at once dashed up to ascertain the true situation. These three went up Long Trench for three or four hundred yards till they reached the point where the breakthrough occurred. Here, of course, they came across a lot of Germans who hurled bombs at them. The corporal, however, was a good and resolute Buff soldier, and he, potting one of his own men in an advantageous position in the trench, with the other commenced to erect a block or stop in the work.He was soon joined by 2nd Lieut.Stevens and another man, and between them they consolidated the block and opened fire at close range on a number of the enemy. About two hours and a half later on, the Buffs tried a counter-attack which was duly preceded by artillery preparation, but it failed owing to the heavy machine-gun fire it was subjected to. The enemy's aeroplanes were very noticeable during this affair, flying low over our lines all day, particularly during the attack. 2nd Lieut Gunther was killed, as were 9 men; another officer and 26 men were wounded, and there were 30 missing. Long Trench was recovered a week later the the 35th Bridge and the Royal West Kent Regiment."
|Buersil & Balderstone War Memorial, Rochdale, England|
Special thanks to Ray & Melanie Holt, Rochdale, England and to British War Medals Forum members "lovey" Jamie & "Steffan" Stefan for photos and information.