CWG: Gunner Thomas Holloway

Gunner Thomas Holloway

Thomas Charles Holloway was born in Chatham, Kent in 1893. The fourth of five children, his parents were Joseph, a domestic coachman, and Caroline Holloway.

By the time of the 1911 census, Thomas had left school and was working in a corn warehouse.

Thomas presented a bit of a challenge when I was researching his history.

His military records show that he enlisted on 31st December 1914, signing up to the Royal Field Artillery. However, Gunner Holloway’s service records show that he was posted on 9th January 1915, before being discharged as medically unfit just a week later. The records confirm that he served for 16 days.

The medical attestation states that he was discharged because of cardiac dilation and hypertrophy, a systolic murmur and dyspnoea, all heart-related conditions.

Despite only serving for just over a fortnight, he was afforded a Commonwealth War Grave when he died.

Searching the local newspapers of the time, a bigger story was unveiled.

The death of Bombardier Thomas Holloway, aged 24, of the RFA… occurred in a hospital at Cambridge. He was kicked by a horse in the course of his training, nearly two years ago, and had practically been on the sick list ever since. On recovering from the effects of the accident, he was seized with spotted fever at Seal, and ultimately succumbed to paralysis of the brain.

East Kent Gazette: Saturday 21st July 1917

The discrepancies between the original discharge and the newspaper report are intriguing. Either way, this was a young life cut far too short: he was 24 years old.

Gunner Thomas Holloway lies at rest in St Margaret’s Churchyard, in his home town of Rainham in Kent.

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