William Holmes (British Army officer)

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Sir William Holmes
The British Army in North Africa 1943 E23451.jpg
Lt. General W. G. Holmes, GOC 9th Army, stands on a Sherman II tank of the Wiltshire Yeomanry, 5 April 1943
Born 1892
Died 1969 (aged 76 or 77)
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service 1911 - 1945
Rank General
Unit Royal Welch Fusiliers
Commands held 2nd Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment
8th Infantry Brigade
42nd (East Lancashire) Infantry Division
X Corps
British Troops in Egypt
Ninth Army
Battles/wars First World War
Second World War
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Companion of the Order of the Bath
Distinguished Service Order & Bar

Lieutenant-General Sir William George Holmes KBE CB DSO and Bar (1892–1969) was a British Army officer of the Second World War.

Early life[edit]

Holmes was educated at Gresham's School, Holt,[1] and the Royal Military Academy.

Military career[edit]

Holmes was commissioned into the Royal Welch Fusiliers in 1911 and served throughout the Great War, during which he was mentioned in despatches four times and received the DSO and bar, and the Italian silver medal for valour.[2] In 1921 he served in Waziristan.[2]

In 1933 Holmes became commanding officer of the 2nd Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment.[2] Promoted to colonel the same year, he was given a general staff position in the Northern Command in 1934 and given command of the 8th Infantry Brigade, part of the 3rd Infantry Division, in 1935.[2] In 1937, he became the British Army's youngest major-general,[1] and in 1938 got his first divisional command, the Territorial Army 42nd (East Lancashire) Infantry Division.[2] Holmes commanded the 42nd Division in France in 1940 with the British Expeditionary Force.[2]

Following the fall of France and the retreat and evacuation from Dunkirk, Holmes was promoted to lieutenant-general and given command of the newly formed X Corps in Syria and North Africa in June 1940.[3]

In November 1941 Holmes became General Officer Commanding the British Troops in Egypt, in addition to his responsibilities as commander of X Corps, and in August 1942 he became General-Director of Transportation at the War Office.[3] Holmes's last command was the Ninth Army, based in Palestine and Transjordan, a command he held from September 1942 until his retirement in 1945.[3]

Honours[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Speech Days: A New Tradition At Gresham's in The Times, Monday, 27 June 1938, page 20
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Who's Who 1969 (A. & C. Black, London, 1969)
  3. ^ a b c Lieutenant-General Sir William George Holmes at generals.dk (accessed 21 August 2007)
Military offices
Preceded by
New Post
GOC, X Corps
June 1940–August 1942
Succeeded by
Herbert Lumsden
Preceded by
Sir James Marshall-Cornwall
GOC the British Troops in Egypt
November 1941–February 1942
Succeeded by
Robert Stone
Preceded by
Sir Henry Maitland Wilson
GOC British Ninth Army
September 1942 – February 1945
Succeeded by
Post disbanded