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Holly Duncan Brobyn: Monday 14th May 1917

Prior to the war, Holly had a live-in job as a draper’s clerk at Harvey Nicholl’s in Knightsbridge.

He enlisted with the Royal Horse Artillery as number 1115 and had transferred to B Battery, 282 Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, and was Gunner 935170 when he died of his wounds.  His Brigade had served in the Somme and took part in the capture of Vimy Ridge on 10 April 1917.  It is likely that this is where he was wounded. He is buried at the Loos British Cemetery.

Holly is also commemorated on the Memorial at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Handen Road, Lee.  The memorial consisted of a new altar, choir stalls and pulpit in plain oak and a roll of honour caved in oak, with inlays of ebony and mother-of-pearl.

His parents were James and Clara Amelia Brobyn.  His father was a hosier in 1901 who went on to be a Gents’ outfitting manager. They lived in Balham when Holly was born and he was baptised on 11 June 1899 at St Mary’s when he was probably 3 years old. The curate’s (Arthur Ellis) handwriting is not very legible, but it seems the family were living at 32 Byrne Road.  He had an older brother, Horace Noel born in 1884 when the family lived in New Cross Road.  By 1911 the family were living at 21 Childerbert Road in Balham.

His brother Horace also enlisted but was discharged unfit from the Leinster Regiment on 28 August 1916.  Horace married Dorothy Sarah, from Rowfant Road, on 18 September 1919 at St Mary’s Balham. His occupation was stated as a shipping merchant’s manager, and his given address was 178 Manor Road Lee.  This is probably where the connection with the Lee Memorial comes from.

Horace moved to St Nicholas Road Tooting and died in St John’s Hospital, Battersea (now a Therapy centre and housing estate) on 9 January 1937 at 43.  An early death which may well have resulted from the effects of his war service.