Leonard Thomas HOLMES
Known as Len

Serial Number: NZ43796
RNZAF Trade: Unknown
Date of Enlistment: 1943
Rank Achieved: Leading Aircraftsman
Flying Hours: Nil known
Operational Sorties: Nil known

Date of Birth: circa 1907
Personal Details: Len was the son third child of John and Elizabeth Holmes. John was originally from Devon, England, and was a tailor by trade. He had served in British home territorial units including the Fourth Devons Volunteer Corps at Totness, the Third Devons at Honiton, the Welsh Border Volunteers, and the Newport Volunteers). He sailed on SS Devonia with mules for East London, South Africa, arriving just after the Boer War had been declared. He then served as a corporal in Brabants Horse (27/11/99-30/11/00), and as a Corporal in the Johannesburg Mounted Rifles 26/2/01-30/9/01). He was then promoted to Sergeant with the Natal Volunteer Composite Regiment (29/2/02-31/9/02). and the Natal Border Police.

John married Elizabeth Jacoba Pretorius in Durban, South Africa on the 14th of November 1904. Together they came to New Zealand in July 1907 and lived in Normanby until about 1915. They moved to Upper Hutt in 1915, living there till just after WWI ended. It’s believed by his grandson Max that John was associated with the Trentham Camp at that time, possibly as a drill instructor or a tailor. Postwar they were living in Ohakune for a while where Pearl was born, and then John and Elizabeth moved the family to Cambridge in 1925 where John set up a tailors' shop in Duke Street.

Len was the third of ten children:
John Roland Holmes(1904-1957)  Gunner NZ Artillery 1942
Enid Maude Holmes(1906-1996)
Leonard (Len)  Thomas Holmes( abt 1906- 1960) RNZAF Guadalcanal abt 1943
Cyril (Sid) Peter Walter Holmes (1909-1992) WO 3rd Echelon, 2 NZEF
Queenie Elizabeth Holmes(1911-1973)
Eileen Mary Holmes(1912-2000)
Norman Stanley Holmes (1914-2001)
George Robert Holmes (1918-1979) Sapper  2 NZEF
Pearl Blanche Holmes (1921 -2014) WAAF WW2
Neil Clarence Holmes (1923-2019            

He had lived in Leamington before joining up. He was a builder/carpenter pre and post-war. He had been a founding member of the Central Bowling Club in Cambridge and had contributed a great deal towards bringing their pavillion into being.

Service Details: Len served at Guadalcanal, possibly with No. 1 Servicing Unit working on Curtiss P-40 fighters

Details of Death: Died 19th of November 1960, aged 52 years. He drowned on Lake Taupo
Buried at: Hautapu Cemetery, Cambridge

Connection with Cambridge: Len was a Cambridge resident before the war, and after the war.

Thanks To: Max Saunders, Len's nephew, for his help and for supplying the photos

Above: Len is second left at the rear in this Guadalcanal shot

Len is left here, at Guadalcanal, with a Curtiss P-40 Warhawk fighter behind them

Len Holmes on the far left, Guadalcanal


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