A-71040 Master Warrant Officer Frederick Holmes (QOR of C, 1 August 1944 to 27 February 1946) first joined the Primary Reserve as a Fusilier in London Ontario on the 19 September 1932. He left the Canadian Fusiliers of London on 1 January 1937 only to re-enroll for wartime service with the Fusiliers on the 10th of January 1941. His delayed recruitment was due to his father and older brother having already been deployed on wartime service, his father with the Air Force and brother with the Navy.
The Fusiliers deployed to Vancouver, BC in May 1942 as part of the Canadian military’s commitment to protect the West Coast from a possible Japanese invasion. Promoted to the rank of Acting Sergeant with pay on the 15th of June, he deployed to Kiska with the Fusiliers on 12 July 1943, arriving soon after the departure of Japanese Forces from the Aleutians. He was confirmed in the rank of Sergeant while in Kiska on the 8th of August 1943. After a hard winter buried in the snows of Kiska, the Fusiliers redeployed to Vancouver on 18 January 1944.
Holmes deployed to the Canadian Army Overseas with the Fusiliers on the 26 of May 1944 disembarking in the UK on the 2nd of June. Garrisoned in Catterick in Yorkshire, the Fusiliers were designated as a reinforcement battalion resulting in the breaking up of the battalion as reinforcements were needed after the casualties suffered on D Day and the weeks that followed.
He then joined The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada on 1 August 1944 in the rank of Sergeant. He fought with the QOR until the end of the war demobilizing on 27 February 1946.
On 1 August 1944 the QOR was deployed near the town of Fontaine Henry, France. After eight days of rest, reorganization and reconstitution, The Regiment deployed forward on Op Totalize in the Caen area on the 9th of August. The story of the remainder of Frederick Holmes’ war service can be traced in the war diaries of The QOR of C.
Like many of his wartime colleagues, Frederick Holmes did not talk about his service during WW II. He kept his memories, for better or worse, to himself.
He became a City of London firefighter in 1946 soon after demobilization and served a full career retiring as a Platoon Chief in November 1978. He also rejoined the Fusiliers in March 1946 as a Reservist and, except for a three-year break, served with them until the 19th of November 1973. He retired as an MWO from the then 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment (The London and Oxford Fusiliers).
He died after a lifetime of service from a form of cancer caused by his many years of firefighting in August 1983 at the age of 64.
In Pace Paratus, we will remember him.
Contributed by his son, Major General (Ret’d) Walter M. Holmes MSM, CD, MBE, Honorary Colonel, The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada, with input from his other two children.