War dead Male Born 9/10/1904 Died 19/2/1944
James Robert Holmes was born on 9 October 1904 in Shoreditch, the second of the four children of James William Holmes (b.1872) and Jane Eliza Holmes née Carver (1873-1947). His father was a leather tanner.
The 1911 census shows him living at 23 Wilmer Gardens, Hoxton, with his parents, his elder sister Florence Emily Holmes (1903-1979), and his two younger brothers Alfred Holmes (b.1908) and William Holmes (b.1910).
Electoral registers for 1921 and 1922 show his parents listed at 16 Wilmer Gardens. From 1923 to 1929 they were recorded at 20 Wilmer Gardens.
On 28 March 1931 he married Mabel Tait (b. 9 March 1908 in Haltwhistle, Northumberland) at Shoreditch Register Office. Their marriage certificate shows that they were living at 16 Wilmer Gardens, that he was a leather tanner and she was a restaurant kitchen hand. They had three children, Robert Holmes (1931-2010), James Ronald Holmes (1932-33) who died aged 7 months, and Joan Florence Holmes (1934-1944).
Electoral registers for 1931 confirm they were living at 16 Wilmer Gardens but the registers for 1932 & 1933 show them at 44 Harman Street, Shoreditch. The 1935 registers list them at 7 Harvey Street, Shoreditch and the 1936 & 1937 registers locate them at 57 Nicholas Street, Shoreditch.
In 1938 he enlisted as a Gunner in the Heavy Anti Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery, service number 1476811.
The 1939 England and Wales Registers show his wife and daughter living at 44 Harman Street, Shoreditch, whilst their son was at the home of his maternal grandmother, Margaret Clark at 3 Park Avenue, Haltwhistle.
His second daughter, Gloria Caroline Holmes, (1941-1944) was born on 23 September 1941 at St Martin's Hospital, Bath, Somerset and her birth certificate shows her mother as Mabel Caroline Holmes formally Farmer (1921-1944) residing at 9 Barrow Road, Bath, however there is no trace of any marriage having taken place between her parents.
On 16 December 1943 he was discharged from the army under King's Regulations para 390 (xvi) having been found physically unfit by a medical board and thereby ceasing to fulfil Army physical requirements.
He died, aged 39 years, together with both his daughters and his new partner, on 19 February 1944 at their home, 116 Shaftesbury Street, Hoxton, as a result of enemy action. They were buried together on 25 February 1944 at Chingford Mount Cemetery, 121 Old Street Road, London, E4 6ST.
All four names are commemorated in the Civilian War Dead Roll of Honour that is kept just outside St George's Chapel at the west end of Westminster Abbey.