Louis Gordon HOLMES

HOLMES, Louis Gordon

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 5 August 1914, Morphettville, South Australia
Last Rank: Captain
Last Unit: 10th Infantry Battalion
Born: Launceston, Tasmania, Australia, 7 July 1892
Home Town: Norwood (SA), South Australia
Schooling: Scotch College, Launceston & Wesley College, Melbourne
Occupation: Athlete
Died: Died of Wounds, At sea (HS Gascon), 23 June 1915, aged 22 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Adelaide University of Adelaide WW1 Honour Roll, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Kent Town Wesleyan Methodist Church WW1 Honour Roll, Launceston Church Grammar School WW1 Honour Board, Lone Pine Memorial to the Missing
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World War 1 Service

5 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Morphettville, South Australia
20 Oct 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, Officer, 10th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1,

--- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '10' embarkation_place: Adelaide embarkation_ship: HMAT Ascanius embarkation_ship_number: A11 public_note: ''

20 Oct 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 10th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ascanius, Adelaide
23 Jun 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, 10th Infantry Battalion, ANZAC / Gallipoli, --- :awm_ww1_roll_of_honour_import: awm_service_number: awm_unit: 10 Battalion awm_rank: Captain awm_died_date: 1915-06-23

AUFC & AUCC - Anzac Day 2015

Extract from the Adelaide University Football Club and Adelaide University Cricket Club document honouring "The Fallen" Anzac Day 2015.

Louis played Intervarsity Football in 1914 was captain. He rowed for the University Rowing Team. He was a Double Blue for football (1914) and boat (1913). He also played for AUFC in 1914. He was studying for a Diploma in Commerce.

Louis enlisted on 18th August 1914 and joined the 10th Battalion. On 1st February 1915 he was attached to the 3rd Brigade. He was made permanent Orderly Officer to Colonel Sinclair-MacLagan and worked closely with Major Brand, the Brigade Major of the 3rd Brigade. The 3rd Brigade was the covering force (first to land) at Gallipoli. In this position he would have been at the forefront of the happenings of the Landing. He was made Captain on 26th April 1915, the day after the Landing. On 13th June 1915 he was heading back to his dugout after a swim in the Cove when the guns from the Olive Grove opened up and he was wounded by ‘Beachy Bill’. This proved fatal and he died on 23rd June 1915.

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Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

Extract from The Roll of Honour, A Biographical record of all members of His Majesty's Naval and Military Forces who have fallen in the War, by the Marquis de Ruvigny, Volume I., The Standard Art Book Company, Ltd, December, 1916:

HOLMES, LOUIS GORDON, Captain, 3rd Infantry Brigade, Australian Imperial Force, only son of Dr. Louis Saenger Holmes, of Norwood, Adelaide, by his wife, Lucy Mary, daughter of the Rev. John Mewton; born Launceston, Tasmania, 7 July, 1892; studied for the Army, and took special subjects at the Adelaide University and was gazetted 2nd Lieutenant to the 79th Infantry Battalion of the Commonwealth Army 28 Feb. 1913, and after the outbreak of the European War, Lieutenant to the 10th Infantry Battalion of the First Australian Expeditionary Force, with which he left Australia in Oct. 1914. Arriving in Egypt, he spent several months in training with his Battalion, and early in 1915 was appointed A.D.C. to the Brigadier. He took part in the famous landing and the opening engagements of the Australians at Gaba Tepe in the Dardanelles. He landed on 25 April and the following day was promoted to a captaincy. He died 23 June, 1915, on board the Hospital Ship Gascon, near Gaba Tepe from shrapnel wounds received in action. Colonel Maclagan, writing of the loss the brigade had sustained, said, "Captain Holmes was beloved by all and one of the most unselfish of men, brave and courageous under all circumstances." Captain Holmes excelled in nearly every branch of athletics and was endowed with an extraordinarily good physique. He got his "Blue" as head of the river at the Wesley College Public School, Melbourne, and also his "Blue" for rowing and football as an Undergraduate of Adelaide University. For three years he was captain of his school Scotch College, Launceston, Tasmania. He was chosen in 1912 to row in the inter-state "eight" for South Australia. To his other athletic accomplishments it may be added that he was distinguished in his Regiment for his expert use of the gloves.



Born 7 July 1892 at Launceston, Tasmania.

Only son of Dr Louis and Lucy Holmes of Norwood and Ballarat.

He was educated at Scotch College, Launceston and Wesley College, Melbourne Victoria, where he gained his blue for football and rowing .   He also attended the University of Melbourne, where he had a successful athletic career, being a prominent member of the rowing and football teams.  He was well known in athletic circles in South Australia, and on several occasions rowed with the University of Adelaide eights.

Shortly before the outbreak of the Great War he commenced studying for a military career.  He received his first commission as a 2nd Lieutenant (provisionally) in the 79th (Torrens) Infantry on 16 February 1913 and was promoted to rank of Lieutenant in the same regiment on 16 July 1914 and held this commission at the time of joining the AIF. 

He was appointed a 2nd Lieutenant in the 10th Battalion at Morphettville on 19 August 1914 and was posted to original F Company.

He embarked per HMAT A11 Ascanius on 20 October 1914.

On 1 February 1915 at Mena, Egypt he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and attached to 3rd Brigade Headquarters as permanent Orderly Officer to Colonel E G Sinclair-MacLagan.  Whilst holding this position he had much to do with Major Brand, Brigade Major of the 3rd Brigade, and other  Staff Officers. 

Before leaving the Battalion his many admirers presented him with a riding whip and a pair of spurs in recognition of the splendid services he had rendered in connection with fostering sport.  He accompanied the 3rd Brigade Headquarters to Anzac, landed with the 3rd Brigade, and often came in contact with his late associates of the 10th. 

On 13 June 1915he was returning to his dug-out after bathing in the cove, when the Olive Grove guns opened fire, and he was mortally wounded by the notorious “Beachy Bill”. 

He was widely popular, and when it was first announced that he was wounded it was hoped by his many scholastic and other friends that his injury would not prove fatal.  He had attained his Captaincy on 26 April 1915.

Extract from “The Fighting 10th”, Adelaide, Webb & Son, 1936 by C.B.L. Lock; supplied courtesy of the 10th Bn AIF Association Committee, April 2015.