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Born: 1891, Windhill
Died: 1 January 1917
Buried: Lijasenthoek Military Cemetery, nr Lleper, Belgium
Address: 17 Wrose Hill Terrace, Wimdhill
Parents: Robert & Sarah Ann, nee Clayforth
Siblings: Two sisters
Occupation: Engine Fitter (1911)
Rank: Sapper
Rolls of Honour: Christchurch, Windhill; Rosse St Baptist Chapel
Regiment: 233 Field Corps, Royal Engineers
Percy Holgate
Percy Holgate was the son of Robert Holgate. Robert was born 1857 in Bingley. He married Sarah Ann Clayforth 28 September 1874 at St Wilfrid Calverley. Percy, an only son with two elder sisters, was born 1891 in Windhill. In 1891 the family were living lived at 6 Wrose Hill Terrace in Windhill with Robert working as a mason. Robert died in 1899, aged just 42. In 1911 widowed Sarah was living at 17 Wrose Hill Terrace
with Percy working as an engine fitter; he never married. Percy served as a Sapper with the 233rd Field Company Royal Engineers. He died 1 January 1917 and he was buried in the Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery near Leper in Belgium. Percy is remembered on the Rolls of Honour at Nab Wood, Windhill Parish Church and Rosse Street Baptist Chapel. A report of his death in the Shipley Times & Express published on 12
January 1917 included: “He was a very enthusiastic member of the cricket and football clubs connected with the Rosse Street Baptist Sunday School and was also an active worker at the Crag Road Sunday School. “A very sympathetic letter has been received from the chaplain of the regiment who pays a fine tribute to the deceased soldier.” Researched and written by Colin Coates to whom many thanks.
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Two weeks after reporting his death, the local paper carried a report of a special service held to honour Percy: A memorial service for Sapper Percy Holgate was held at Rosse Street on Sunday evening last and was conducted by the Rev H W Burdett. There was a large attendance of friends and the Rosse Street Brotherhood attended in a body. The choir, under the leadership of Mr Wilfred Knight, sang ‘Cast thy burden’ and ‘the Hymn of the Homeland.’ At the close of the service the ‘Dead March’ was played. Mr Burdett said that the service was no conventional thing. Many there had known Percy Holgate well and greatly liked and esteemed him. He had belonged to the Sunday School and Brotherhood and had rendered fine service in the cricket and football clubs. They had always found him straight, considerate, reliable. A man of principle and character, there was only one testimony about
him, that he was good and true. A sacred and touching letter had been received from the chaplain who attended him when he was brought into hospital badly wounded about 7 o’clock on January 1st. As he lay dying, he sent loving messages to his mother and sisters and to his friends at Rosse Street. Almost the last thing he said was: “I’m thinking about these words, ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.’ “ Mr Burdett was preaching that text to them that night and turning their hearts to God, the god of that Psalm was going to end the war. ‘He maketh wars to cease.’ Men ought to help in that work of ending war and because it robbed the world of so much that was good and brutalised so much that did not die they ought to hate it with an anger like consuming fire. They must hate the evil that caused war, all selfish thought and bitter speech, all reliance on ways and means which were not of God, while
loving the sinner as God did and overcoming evil with good like the Russian Baptist preacher who when his wife had been flogged to death for faith, sought out the villages of the Cossacks who had done the flogging and converted 1300 of them to the gospel. But even though the world was wrong any man in it could get right and Percy Holgate had shown them how to die. When the hour came in which they looked death in the face, the false props gave way and the Bible became the most precious thing in the world. He had died trusting and loving and therefore was safer than a child sheltered in his mother’s arms. He found God to be his refuge and strength and present help and so calmly and without fear he passed into the unseen. But if he needed Christ the Saviour to die by, all of them needed the same Christ to live by The message came to them that night that they should acquaint themselves with Him and be at peace that they should trust God too.