Wednesday, 17 February 2016
Alexander Erksine Holmes
NAME; Holmes, Alexander Erskine (Sandy) – D.C.M
SERV. NO; 12/17889
UNIT/SERVICE; 12th Battalion
REGIMENT; Royal Irish Rifles
LIVED; Elmwood, Carrickfergus
ENLISTED; Carrickfergus, 15 September 1914 aged 22 years and 8 months
FATE; Survived the war
REMARKS; Alexander Erskine Holmes (Sandy) was born in the Shankill area of Belfast in 1892, the son of James and Matilda and brother to Joseph, Margaret and John. In 1911 he was living with his family in the west division of Carrickfergus serving his time as an apprentice joiner. He was a member of the Central Antrim UVF and when war broke out enlisted into the 12th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles at Barn Mills School on 15 September 1914. Following training he was posted to France in October 1915 and quickly promoted to the rank of Sergeant. He served across the Western Front in 1916 and 1917 involved in all major offensives with the 12th Battalion. He was taken Prisoner of War on 21 March 1918 along with many other men from the Battalion during the German Spring Offensive. He served out the rest of the war in captivity in German and was repatriated in December 1918. On his return to Britain he is informed that he had been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal; the official commendation in the London Gazette recorded “he did excellent work in keeping up communication under heavy fire during two engagements. He has consistently shown great courage and energy in his work”.
Sandy was demobilised from the army in April 1919, by which time he family home is recorded as Elmwood, Belfast Road, Carrickfergus. After the war he had a long service with the Royal British Legion.