VAD Ezra Holmes

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VAD Ezra Holmes

Convoy and Hospital Work

Ezra Holmes was the oldest of five children, born on 20th April 1872 in Keighley and baptised on 27th October that year at Kildwick Church. His parents were Feargus O'Connor Holmes, a gas meter inspector from Kildwick and Mary Ann Holmes nee Greenwood, of Heptonstall.

The baptism record of Ezra Holmes

At the time of the 1881 census the family lived at 29 Coney Lane. Ezra had two younger sisters at this time - Mary Elizabeth (born 1875) and Ann (born 1880). Another sister, Amanda, had died in 1874 aged just one year.

In 1891 the family still lived at 29 Coney Lane. Feargus' occupation was now a 'sanitary store keeper' which was a term used for someone who sold toiletries and hygiene products. Ezra, now 18, was working as an overlooker in a worsted spinning mill, of which there were many in Keighley at the time. His sisters were also working in worsted mills - Mary as a spinner and Ann as a doffer, despite being only ten years old. A younger brother, James Greenwood Holmes, had been born in 1887.

The Holmes family shown on the 1891 census

Ezra married Martha Shackleton during the first quarter or 1898 in Keighley. They had a son, Harold, on 2nd November 1900. I don't believe they had any other children.

In 1901 they lived at 27 Marlborough Street. Ezra had changed occupation and, presumably following in his father's earlier footsteps, was working as a gas meter inspector. As with most women at the time, Martha was not working since marrying and having they had five month old Harold also.

Ezra, Martha and Harold Holmes on the 1901 census

By 1911 the Holmes family had moved around the corner to 43 Bradford Street and Ezra was working as a prepayment meter collector for the borough council's gas department. Martha's sister, 43 year old spinster Annie Shackleton, a cloth weaver, was living with them.

Ezra's parents had moved to Lustre Street and both of his sisters lived with them in 1911. His brother, James, had died at the age of 14 in 1901. Neither Mary Elizabeth or Ann (who died in 1919) ever married. Feargus died in 1925 and Mary Anne in 1930.

During World War One Ezra gave his time to hospital and convoy work. He gave 1,000 hours of service between April 1916 and June 1919, at both Morton Banks War Hospital and Spencer Street Auxiliary Hospital.

At the time of the 1939 Register Ezra still lived at 43 Bradford Street. He was described as a widower, Martha having died in 1931. He was described as a retired gas meter inspector, and volunteered his time as a senior ARP warden. His son Harold, who was by then married, lived with him and as well as working as a machine tool fitter and driller, joined Ezra as an ARP warden. Ezra's sister in law Annie still lived with them also.

The 1939 Register

Ezra remained in Keighley for the rest of his life, and died on 6th March 1953 at the age of 80.

 

Sources:

England and Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915

North Yorkshire, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1921

1881 England Census

1891 England Census

1901 England Census

1911 England Census

1939 England and Wales Register

England and Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915

England and Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1837-1915

England and Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007

England and Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995

 

 

 

 

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