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(Updated 19th August 2017)

Imperial War Museum War Partnership logoFirst World War - On this day...... 15th September 1916

 

Remembering the men from the Kingsdown and Creekside Cluster
who gave their lives in the First World War

On the centenary of their death, we remember

Frederick Thomas HOLLANDS (of Lynsted)
b. 1889;
d. 15th September 1916. Aged 27 years.


Lance Corporal, G/8980
1st Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment)
Remembered with Honour
Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme
Killed in Action

Thiepval Memorial


Frederick was born in Lynsted in 1889 and was Christened in Teynham Church on 9 October. Son of Teynham railway signalman, Charles Thomas Hollands and Alice Hollands (née Cornell). The family, which included his older brother John Charles, and younger brothers William, Charlie (who died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme) and Edward Frank, lived at 6 Albion Place, Greenstreet, Lynsted. Frederick had worked as a carpenter and carriage painter at Messrs Egan Bros carriage works in Greenstreet. At some time between enlistment and mobilisation, Frederick worked for Sittingbourne Post Office which was shorthanded.

Frederick was a locally renowned sportsman playing at half-back for the Teynham football team along with Thomas Wigg, another casualty of the war whose biography is included in this book.

Frederick enlisted on 9 December 1915 in Sittingbourne and was mobilised on 10 February. He left for France on 1 June 1916. He was killed just 107 days later, just 77 days after his brother, on the first day of the Battle of Flers Courcelette. Coincidentally, this was the first day the British engaged with tanks, as it turned out, disastrously.

The War Diary of Frederick’s battalion records their movements from the time of his arrival until his death. It gives a taste of how hard his short service would have been:

1916 Position  
June 18 Tatinghem Arrival of 56 reinforcement “other ranks” (refers to soldiers not of officer rank)
19-24 " In billets at the disposal of 2nd Army Training School
25 " Inspection by Brig General Nicholson who complimented the battalion on its quantity and quality of their work in the trenches and their smartness on parade
26 " Marched to Noordpeene
27 Noordpeene Marched to Rietveld
28-30 Rietveld Training
July 1 " Training – 59 reinforcement “other ranks” arrived
2-3 " Training
4 " Training – 42 reinforcement “other ranks” arrived
5-11 " Training
12-13 " Training
14 " Marched to Camp N Proven
15 Camp N  
16 Camp N Entrained to Ypres
17 In trenches INTO TRENCHES Relieved 7th Somerset regiment in Railway Wood Sector
18 " 5 “other ranks” wounded in action
19 " 3 “other ranks” wounded in action
20 " 3 “other ranks” wounded in action
21 " Officer wounded in action 1 “other ranks” wounded 1 “other ranks” killed in action
22 " 1 “other ranks” wounded in action
23 " 2 wounded in action
24 " 2 wounded in action
25 " Battalion relieved back to billets in Ypres
26 Ypres 1 O.R.
27
"
Wounded in action
29
"
Proceeded to billets in Poperinghe
30-31
"
 
August 1 Poperinghe Frederick made Lance Corporal (unpaid)
2
"
Entrained to Doulens (6 hours) then by road to camp at Amplier
3 Amplier  
4
"
Entrained to Puchevillier via Sarton Mirieux
5-6 Puchevillier  
7
"
Marched to Acheux via Raincheval, Arqueves and Louvencourt
8 Acheux  
9   Relieved 1st West Yorks in trenches south of Beaumont Hamel
10 In Trenches Wire cutting. 1 “other ranks” wounded
11
"
Wire cutting 1 “other ranks” died of wounds, 10 “other ranks” wounded
12
"
Battalion relieved to camp in woods, 6 “other ranks” wounded
13 Camp in woods  
14
"
Relieved by Yorks and Lancs to billets at Beausart
15 Beausart  
16-19
"
Working parties (under Corps of Signals)
20 In Trenches Relieved 8 Beds from Broadway to Jacobs Ladders opposite Beaumont Hamel
21
"
6 “other ranks” wounded
22
"
Patrol taken out towards Beaumont Hamel, no enemy encountered
23
"
Heavy shelling from enemy. 1 “other ranks” killed, 2 “other ranks” wounded. Patrol reconnoitred enemy wire and crater
24
"
 
25
"
1 “other ranks” wounded in action
26
"
 
27
"
Relieved by 2nd Worcester Regiment in afternoon and proceeded by road to camp at Bertrancourt
28 Bertrancourt Proceeded by road to camp at Amplier
29 Amplier Proceeded by road to billets at Naours – 6 “other ranks” reinforcements arrived
30 Naours 2 “other ranks” reinforcements arrived
31
"
 
September 1-5
"
 
6
"
Proceeded by road to billets in Rainneville via Flesselles and Villers Bocage
7 Rainneville Proceeded by road to billets in Corbie via Cardonnette, Allonville, Querrieu and La Neuville
8 Corbie Proceeded by road to Bois de Tailles and went into camp – 6 “other ranks” wounded in bomb accident
9-10 Bois de Tailles  
11
"
Marched to neighbourhood of German Wood under bombardment. 1 “other ranks” killed and 8 “other ranks” wounded through accidental exploding of a grenade on the march.
12 German Wood Took over support trenches S E of Guillemont
13 In Trenches Wedge Wood
14 In trenches Moved up by night to assembly trench N E of Leuze Wood
15 In trenches Took part in attack on German line running N E Bois de Bouleaux.
Casualties:
3 officers killed
53 “other ranks” killed
1 officer missing (later confirmed killed)
58 “other ranks” missing
2 officers wounded and missing (1 later confirmed killed)
7 “other ranks” wounded and missing
1 officer died of wounds (in September 1916)
3 officers wounded
183 “other ranks” wounded
Battalion returned to support trench at 7pm.

 

The War Diary of Frederick’s battalion records their movements from the time of his arrival until his death. It gives a taste of how hard his short service would have been:
Numbers later confirmed: 126 killed of which 5 were officers. Only 31 of those who died on 15 September 1916 have a known grave. Those whose bodies were not recovered, like Frederick, appear on the Thiepval Memorial. His brother Charlie is also commemorated on this memorial.

Events of 15 September 1916 are best described in “A Short History of the 6th Division” written in 1920 by Major-General T O Marden CB, CMG:

The British objective for the 15th September was Gueudecourt-Flers-Lesboeufs-Morval - the XIV Corps (Guards and 6th Division) to capture the two latter. It was the first occasion on which tanks were employed, and as far as the Division was concerned was a failure, for of the three allotted to the 6th Division two broke down before starting, and the third, moving off in accordance with orders long before the infantry, had its periscope shot off, its peep-holes blinded, was riddled by armour-piercing bullets, and had to come back without achieving anything. This again found a parallel in the attack on the Quadrilateral, near St. Quentin, on 18th September 1918, when the tanks were ineffective. To facilitate the movement of the tanks a gap of about 200 yards had been left in the creeping barrage. This gap unfortunately coincided with the strongest point of the Quadrilateral. The barrage, moreover, had passed over the German trenches by the time the infantry advanced; the latter had, consequently, to attack up the glacis-like slopes without any artillery support except the bombardment. This, owing to the enemy's trenches not having been accurately located, was ineffective.

The 16th Infantry Brigade attacked on a battalion front - one company of the Bedfords bombing up the trench from Leuze Wood, and the remainder over the open to the north against the south-west face. The Buffs and York and Lancasters supported the attack, but in spite of the greatest gallantry could not take the Strong Point.

The 1st Leicesters and the Norfolks passing through the entrenched Foresters and Suffolks, attacked the Quadrilateral from the north-west with equal drive, but they too failed. Some ground, however, was made, and by 10 a.m. the 16th Infantry Brigade on the south, and the 71st Infantry Brigade on the north, were digging in close to the enemy's wire and trenches. During the day constant reports arrived that the Guards had gained their objectives, and that tanks and cheering men were moving through Lesboeufs. It was not until the following morning that this report was proved to be incorrect, and that it was Flers which had been captured. In the meantime it appeared to the Divisional G.O.C. (General Ross) that the prospect of a break-through on a large scale was prejudiced solely by the repulse of the 6th Division. He therefore ordered a night attack on the flanks of the Quadrilateral to be executed by two battalions of the 18th Infantry Brigade (Brig.-Gen. R. J. Bridgford). These battalions, the 2nd Durham Light Infantry and the 11th Essex, moved round after dark and attacked; the former from the north, the latter from the south-east to the left of the 16th Infantry Brigade. The 11th Essex lost direction, while the 2nd D.L.I, bombed down a trench only to find that it did not lead into the Strong Point. Except on the 6th Divisional front and at High Wood, which was captured during the night, the whole line had advanced, and it was a bitter blow to the Division to think that their sacrifices had been in vain.

The Faversham and North East Kent News included the following article in their 24 November 1916 which describes how Frederick’s death was first received by his brother, William who was on his way to the front:

LYNSTED FAMILY’S SECOND LOSS.
The shadow of the War is falling heavily over the home of Mr. and Mrs Charles Thos. Hollands, of 6, Albion Place, Greenstreet. In the early part of this year they had four sons serving in H.M.Forces. Since the middle of the year, alas! Two of them have been killed, namely Private Charles Hollands, of the Royal Fusiliers, and Lance-Corpl. Frederick Thomas Hollands, of the Buffs.
Charles, who was 21 years of age, was killed by a sniper (as we recorded at the time) on July 1st, the day that the great push commenced. Frederick was killed in the renewed push made on the 15th September. Mr and Mrs Hollands have therefore sad reasons to remember the commencement of these two British offensives. The other two sons serving are William Hollands in the A.S.C. Mechanical Transport, and John Hollands (the eldest of the family) who is in the Naval Sick Bay Reserve at Chatham. There is yet one other son (the youngest), who is employed at the Faversham Co-operative Society’s Stores. He is just turned 18 and it is probable he, too, will be called upon early in the new year, in which event all five sons will have served their country.
The news of the death of Lance-Corpl. Fred Hollands was received in the first instance from his brother William, of the Mechanised Transport. It appears that on September 15th he was going up to the firing line with an Ammunition Column when he met the Buffs Battalion to which his brother belonged, or rather those that remained of it, coming out of the trenches. On inquiring after his brother he learned the melancholy news that he had been killed in action. The deceased was 27 years of age. The last letter his parents received from him was dated September 12th – three days before his death. In this letter he told them not to worry if they did not hear from him again for a little while as he might not have the opportunity to write. He added that they could depend upon it that wherever he went and whatever he was called upon to do he would do his best. And he carried that out to the sacrifice of his life.
Both he and the other son who was killed formerly worked at the carriage building works of Messrs. Egan Bros., Greenstreet. Some time after war broke out, however, they both joined the postal delivery staff at the Sittingbourne post Office, owing to the scarcity of men. Fred was a well-known local footballer.
Mr C T Hollands, the father of these patriotic sons, has for 28 years been a signalman at Teynham Railway Station.

Frederick was posthumously awarded:-

BRITISH WAR MEDAL
VICTORY MEDAL
British War Medal
Victory Medal

Family Members involved in the War

The Faversham and North East Kent News published on 15th September 1917 wrote:– "Among those injured in the air raid at Chatham last week was John Hollands, eldest son of Mr and Mrs Hollands, of Greenstreet, who is on the sick bay staff at the Royal Naval Barracks. It seems that it was not until he became exhausted while assisting in the rescue work that it was discovered that he himself had been hit."