Thomas William Holmes

Thomas William Holmes VC (October 14, 1898 - January 4, 1950) was a Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.


He was 19 years old, and a private in the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles, 2nd Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

On 26 October 1917 near Passchendaele, Belgium, when the right flank of our attack was held up by heavy machine-gun fire from a pill-box strong point and heavy casualties were producing a critical situation, Private Holmes, on his own initiative and single-handed, ran forward and threw two bombs, killing and wounding the crews of two machine-guns. He then fetched another bomb and threw this into the entrance of the pill-box, causing the 19 occupants to surrender.

It was during the investiture at Buckingham Palace that Holmes admitted to King George V that he had lied about his age and joined the army at age 17.

After the war Holmes was for fifteen years a pilot for the Harbor Commission In 1936 he and another officer saved the lives of three persons whose auxiliary cabin boat upset in the harbor. In 1942 Holmes narrowly escaped death when his launch exploded.

Tommy Holmes is the youngest Canadian to ever win the Victoria Cross.

Further information

Grave/memorial at Buried at Greenwood Cemetery, Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada. His memorial service was attended by Victoria Cross holders Henry Howey Robson, Colin Fraser Barron and Mr Walter Leigh Rayfield.

The medal

In 1935 his home was robbed and the Victory Cross was stolen. Thomas Holmes VC medal is now on display at the Owen Sound Royal Canadian Legion Branch #6


*Monuments to Courage (David Harvey, 1999)
*The Register of the Victoria Cross (This England, 1997)
*VCs of the First World War - Passchendaele 1917 (Stephen Snelling, 1998)
* The Globe and Mail, 5 January 1950

External links

* [ Historic Plaque]
* [ Legion Magazine Article on Thomas William Holmes]
* [ Find-A-Grave website has a photograph of Thomas William Holmes]
* [ Ontario Historic Plaque]

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