James (Jim) Edgar Holmes (1893–1959)


Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment) 2050 6th Battalion
South Wales Borderers 4/4370 51st Battalion

Photo Courtesy Margaret Charbaneau

James Edgar Holmes

Courtesy Margaret Charboneau
James (Jim) Edgar Holmes was born 1892 at the Old Vicarage, Crich to Samuel and Elizabeth Holmes. He was a Lea Mills worker who enlisted in 1916 with his cousin and best friend George Haslam, who is also on the Crich Roll of Honour. Both served in France with the South Wales Borderers, remaining in Germany after the Armistice until 1919. During the war he served with the 12th Welsh Regiment and became bandmaster. Music was his life-long interest. After the war, during the days of silent films, he played for a number of years in the orchestra of Ripley Hippodrome. James was a keep sportsman, playing football with several local clubs. His father, Samuel, was a semi-professional footballer for Derby County playing between 1889 and 1891. A bit of a mystery surrounds how he was spotted as Derby was quite a way from Crich in the 1880s. James was a member of Crich United Prize Brass Band for fifty-six years, several years as conductor. He married Edith Olivia Nunn in the Stow Registration District, Suffolk (March Quarter 1919) and moved to Heanor to work in the hosiery trade before moving back to Crich in later years.

Postcard courtesy Elizabeth Griffiths

James Holmes

From a postcard of Lea Mills soldiers

As a Lea Mils employee he received various parcels from the Managing Director, J. B. Marsden-Smedley, to which he replied.

Battalion Grenade Section, 6th Sherwood Foresters, B E F C/o Y.P.O.L.
October 5th

I am just writing these few lines to you, I hope you wont think it too much, but I am asking you if you can kindly get us a football, there is myself and a lot more Matlock Boys, we have got a good team and have played a lot of games when out of the trenches, but at present we are without a ball, we have a bit of time when we are out of the trenches and we like a game to keep us fit.  I must say that all the Matlock boys read in the paper of the death of your brave Son, and we all Join in sending our deepest Sympathy, I will close now hoping you will oblige your Obedient Servant
Pte J. Holmes 2050

L/Cpl J. Holmes, 58 T.R. 4/4370 A Coy., No. 9 Camp, Kinmel Park, Nr Rhyl.   N.W.
Mr. Smedley
Dear Sir

Many thanks for your kind Xmas gift.  I'm sure it is very good of you to think about us while we are at War and I hope before long we shall return to Lea Mills and settle down in peace and Comfort.  Once more wishing you a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year when it comes.
Yours Truly
J. Holmes

Sgt J C. Holmes, 51st. S. W.  B., Sgt's Mess Alderburgh, Suffolk
Dear Sir

Thanks very much for parcel received quite safely.  It is very kind of you to think of the Boys who went from Lea Mills some of them now killed.
It hardly seems true.  I don't know what to think of the war, Sir there isn't any sign of it being over.  Once more thanking you very much for Parcel.
Wishing you a Prosperous New Year.
Yours Very Truly
J.E. Holmes

51st S. W. B., Stowlangtoft Camp, Nr. Bury St. Ed., Suffolk

I wish to thank you for the splendid Parcel you have sent me — I can assure you it was very acceptable.  Just coming off a Physical Drill & Bayonet Fighting Course.
Yours Faithfully
Sgt JE Holmes

Regimental Band Photographs [Courtesy Barbara Haslam]
James and best friend George Haslam were both in the South Wales Borderers Regimental Band.

South wales Borderers Band in WW1

George Haslam seated left with Jim Holmes standing seventh from the left

George Haslam and James Holmes in WW1

George Haslam standing sixth from the left with Jim Holmes next to him, seventh left

Newspaper reports

Derbyshire Courier, 29 December 1917
A feature of the holiday has been the unusually large number of local soldiers who have been fortunate in securing Christmas leave. The list includes Sgt C. Mason, from Ecclesall (Staffs), convalescent home; Private J W Heathcote, A S C (Mechanical Transport), from France; and driver William Coleman, France – the two latter were over together just a year ago – and Sapper Hy V. Smith in the Signalling Service, R.E., who came from France on Monday, after eight months across the Channel. Driver Jas H Dawes, Driver James Bingham, Lance Corporal W Hallam, Cpl Jas Holmes, and Bugler William Hartshorne have also been over on leave. The latter, who is staying with Mr A Buckley, of Park Head, is attached to the Canadian Forces. Along with his parents he emigrated from Park Head, cried, to the Dominion before the war, and like his brother, Tom, he enlisted in the Canadians during the earlier stages of the war.

Derbyshire Courier 21 June 1919
Corporal George HASLAM, South Wales Borderers, of the Town End, Crich, writing home, says he won second prize in the bandsmen’s race at the Whit Monday sport held in the Cologne district. Sergeant James HOLMES, of Crich, was playing with the same band during the week. Both were players in the Crich Silver Band. Corporal Haslam's prize was a razor and case.

Derbyshire Courier, 30 August 1919
Sergt George Haslam, South Wales Borderers, of the Town End Crich, arrived home on Saturday from Germany, after having been demobilised. Sergt Haslam along with Sergt James Holmes of Crich, Joined the Borderers in January 1916. Since the armistice both have been with the Rhine occupation army and have played with the military bands there. Before joining up they were members of Crich Silver Band.

Derbyshire Courier 13 September 1919
Sgt-Drummer James HOLMES, South Wales Borderers, of the Old Vicarage, Crich, was demobilised last week, and reached his parents home on Tuesday after being with the Rhine occupation army since the armistice. Sgt HOLMES who intends to live in Suffolk has received a communication from Manchester City Football Club with a view to having a trial with them. He has also had several offers for orchestral engagements including one at Cardiff. He is a skilled cornet soloist.

Derby Daily Telegraph; 13 November 1933
Members of the Crich British Legion, Old Comrades, Parish Council, School Managers, Rural Council, Boy Scouts, Cubs, Brownies, Girl Guides, Friendly Societies, Welfare Committee and other organisations, headed by Crich Silver Band, paraded to Crich Parish Church yesterday for a Remembrance Service conducted by the Rev H.E. Jones (Vicar), who was assisted by Captain Graham. “O Valiant Hearts” was sung, Mr A. Pearson being the organist. The “Last Post” and “Reveille” was sounded by Bandsman J. Holmes,
Mr John Lister (chairman of the British Legion) was in command of the parade. British Legion officers assisting were Mr E Burtt (secretary) and Mr A Day (Treasurer). Mr N. Smith was in charge of the Comrades, and Commissioner Flora MacDonald assisted by officers of the other organisations, also assisted. Councillor F.J. Lynam (chairman of the Parish Council) was present.


1901: Crich

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
Samuel Holmes Head 33 Gritstone worker Crich
Elizabeth Holmes wife 29   South Wingfield
Mabel Holmes daughter 8   Crich
James Edgar Holmes son 7   Crich
Elsie Holmes daughter 4   Crich
Samuel Holmes son 1   Crich
Alfred Holmes son 6 mo   Crich

RG13 piece 3231 folio 29 page 3

1911: Mortray Hill, Badale

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
Samuel Holmes Head 42 Quarryman Crich
Elizabeth Holmes wife 39   South Wingfield
Mabel Elizabeth Holmes daughter 18 Factory hand Lea Mills Crich
James Edgar Holmes son 17 Factory hand Lea Mills Crich
Elsie Holmes daughter 14 Factory hand Lea Mills Crich
Samuel Holmes son 11 School Crich
Alfred Holmes son 10 School Crich
Mary Ann Holmes daughter 9 School Crich
Eunice Holmes daughter 7 School Crich
George Holmes son 5 Dchool Crich
Sidney Holmes sone 3 At home Crich

RG14PN20985 RG78PN1251 RD436 SD4 ED14 SN92

1918 Crich voters
James Holmes, Old Vicarage; absent on military service.

1939 Register: Heanor area
James E Holmes b.6 October 1893; pure silk hosiery knitter
Edith C Holmes b.8 April 1894
four closed records