Remembering My Great Uncle Private Alvin Holroyd 1/4th Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry died 1.7.16
A candle has been burning brightly all day in remembrance of you. My Great-Grandmother never gave up hope of seeing her dear Son Alvin again, through the horrors of that first fateful day of the Somme 1st July 1916 when he went over the top with so many brave boys. Then a returned letter from the front with a plea from his Brother "We all want to know why you have not written as it is three weeks since we got the last letter, you are making every body feel uneasy at home as we think there is something up. My mother was going to send you a parcel on Tuesday but with you not sending a letter we thought it was best not to send one till we got a answer, as soon as you get this letter just write straight back. We do not care if you send three words as long as we know you are right as they don't know what they are doing on at home with you not sending a letter in three weeks" From your loving father and mother. The news finally came from the War Office on 2nd August 1916 that Alvin had been 'missing' since the 18th July 1916, nothing further was heard until after the end of the war when the British Red Cross & Order of St John wrote to my great-grandmother dated 18th December 1918. 'Dear Madam we much regret to say that not withstanding constant and careful enquiries, we have not succeeded in hearing anything of your son Pte A.Holroyd 4211 4 KOYLI whose name was on our lists for months, and we have had to come to the conclusion that he must have lost his life at the time when he was missing. All the men of his unit whom we have been able to see, both in English Hospitals and at the bases abroad, have been questioned and none of them have thrown any light on his casualty. It has however proved possible to collect some details of the action and we enclose a copy of these, fearing that in spite of all our efforts we shall be unable to help you further. Though all the Prisoners Lists are closely watched as they come in from Germany, we cannot hope to find there the names of any men missing so long ago. With sincere sympathy for the family and friends. Yours faithfully, For The Earl of Lucan.' My great-grandmother never gave up hope that he may return and she thought he may be in some hospital or sanitorium in France with memory loss. After her death it remained a family mystery as to what exactly happened to Alvin until my father and I visited Thiepval Memorial on the Somme in May 1998 and our battlefield guide Ives went to the locker where the list of more than 70,000 lads with no known grave from The Battle of The Somme are commemorated. In one of the many booklets with so many names he found Alvin, emotion swept us as we hurried to the wall where his name was shown. We had finally found him. Mam never gave up hope, we never stopped looking, we will always remember.