CWG: Private Holdsworth Elphick

Private Holdsworth Elphick

Holdsworth Elphick was born on 7th June 1891, one of five children to Herbert and Mary Elphick. Herbert was a billiard marker and professional player, who had been born in Brighton. Mary was from Ireland, but the couple raised their family in London, presumably as this is where the best opportunities for work were.

When he left school, Holdsworth found work at the George Hotel in Balham, South London, where he was employed as a barman. The 1911 census shows another barman there called Geoffrey Elphick, who, while not one of Holdsworth’s brothers, may well have been a cousin.

When war broke out, Holdsworth was quick to sign up. He enlisted as a Private in the Buffs (the East Kent Regiment) on 9th September 1914 and, after a year on the Home Front, he was sent out to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force in August 1915.

There is little further information available about Private Elphick’s time in the army. He returned to England on 25th February 1916; this appears to have been a medical evacuation as, two months later, he was discharged from the army as he was no longer physically fit to continue.

Life continued for Holdsworth. In September 1917, he married Lydia Ann Armstrong, a dock labourer’s daughter from Southampton, although this is where his trail seems to end.

The next available evidence for Private Elphick is his gravestone. This confirms that he passed away on 11th November 1918 – Armistice Day – but no further information is available. He was just 27 years of age.

Holdsworth Elphick lies at rest in the Broadwater Cemetery in Worthing, West Sussex (presumably this is where he and Lydia moved after their marriage, although there is nothing to confirm this).


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