Robert Francis (Bob) HOLLOWAY


HOLLOWAY, Robert Francis

Service Numbers: 308582, SX5115
Enlisted: 26 September 1938, Kensington, SA
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 2nd/12th Infantry Battalion
Born: Torrensville, South Australia, 19 November 1922
Home Town: Joslin, Norwood Payneham St Peters, South Australia
Schooling: St James School, Torrensville, South Australia, Glen Osmond School, South Australia
Occupation: Soldier
Died: Accidental (Injuries), Libya, 27 May 1941, aged 18 years
Cemetery: Alexandria (Chatby) Military and War Memorial Cemetery
Chatby Military & War Cemetery Grave N 160
Memorials: Adelaide WW2 Wall of Remembrance, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Townsville 2/12th Battalion Roll of Honour
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World War 2 Service

26 Sep 1938: Enlisted Private, SN 308582, Kensington, SA
26 Sep 1938: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Private, SN SX5115, 2nd/12th Infantry Battalion
11 Jun 1940: Transferred Private, 2nd/12th Infantry Battalion
5 Oct 1940: Embarked Private, SN SX5115, 2nd/12th Infantry Battalion
1 Apr 1941: Involvement Private, SN SX5115, 2nd/12th Infantry Battalion, Siege of Tobruk
Date unknown: Involvement


The Advertiser Adelaide - 2 June 1941

HOLLOWAY. Robert Francis.—On the 27th of May, died of injuries accidentally received on active service abroad, beloved second son of P. E. and M. Holloway. Loved brother of Peter (R.A.N) and Brian. HOLLOWAY.

Robert Francis (Bob). —Died on active service, on the 27th of May. dearly loved nephew of Mr. and Mrs. G. P. Delicate. St. James Park. Lockleys. "He shall grow not old as we that are left grow old."

Forever In My Heart

The following is an extract, from my father’s yet unpublished book, “Cadet to Commissioner”. My Father Brian John Holloway CBE, QPM, PLS & GC Medal, was Commissioner of Police in Papua New Guinea and died on 23 January 2013 in Perth Western Australia aged 85. He was to young to go to war and was Bob’s youngest brother:

World War 2 was being fought in New Guinea and the Middle East where our family lost my brother Bob.

He was the South Australian Junior Professional Cycling Champion just before the war, the middle son of three boys. This handsome, athletic boy was so badly burnt and disfigured, he died in a field hospital three days after his horrific injuries in the Middle East. He was only 18 and his life had not begun. I wonder if the friends who survived him, lived their life with the smell of burning flesh and the battle raging around them each night when they closed their eyes to sleep.
I was too young to go to war and I remember vividly the day my Mum received the telegram. Her child Robert Francis Holloway of Unit 2/12 Australian Battalion (Infantry) had died in Libya of horrific wounds days after being injured on 27 May 1941. Mum collapsed in the passageway of our home to live forever with a broken heart. Mum was a slightly built elegant woman and I remember her sorrow when she was awarded a medal, by the Commonwealth: the medal was for mothers and widows to mark the death of a child or husband on active service during World War II.
Bob is buried at El Almain beneath a white cross, Grave N.160 marked “SX 5115” and his name is on Panel 36 at the Australian War Memorial, forever remembered. If you should pass by there, will you stop awhile and remember him as he lies eternally in a land so far away, alongside 7,240 Commonwealth burial sites, 815 unidentified, all in a Cemetery off the road and slightly beyond a ridge with low metal gates and stone wing walls at its entrance and a large Cross of Sacrifice reaching up to the blue, blue sky and the dark white clouds over Egypt and in the palm of Horus the mythological God of Kings, lord of the sky.
Not only did I see firsthand what the war could bring to my mother and our family when we received the telegram telling us that Bob had been killed but I also witnessed the same despair and reactions by other mothers and families when as a school boy during holidays I took a position as temporary telegraph messenger at the Payneham Post Office and delivered many telegrams of a like nature to families in that area, some of them close neighbours. I felt like a messenger of death and the memories of the grief stricken families have stayed with me for a lifetime.

I was too young to join the services and I really believe it was this fact that motivated me to follow the tradition set by my Dad and join the Police Force.

I had seen my brothers and their mates in their uniforms and I had gone to the Adelaide Railway Station, with my parents and my Uncle George and Aunty Mabel to say goodbye to Peter and Bob when both of them left for destinations unknown. I was so proud of them both and wanted to be just like them and this was my chance, the closest thing I could do at my age was to become a Police Cadet.

It did not occur to me that this was my final goodbye to my brother Bob and I would never see him again, I would never have his company or hear his laughter. He has remained forever in my heart.

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