Les Holloway reflects on his father’s World War One experiences
I never asked my dad about his war experiences. Returned servicemen didn’t talk about those days. I’ve got my theories why – one of the things, it was just too terrible (Les Holloway, 2017)
Les Holloway’s father Roy was just 17 years of age when he joined the Australian Imperial Force during World War One. After falsifying his father’s signature on his enlistment documents, Roy joined the 14th Battalion.
Following his departure from Australia, Roy trained at Egypt’s Heliopolis Camp before taking part in the landing at Gallipoli on 25 April, 1915. He became sick after several weeks and recuperated in Gibraltar. He was sent back to Gallipoli, where he remained until the evacuation.
The battalion returned to Egypt, where Roy began keeping a detailed diary. In 1917, he was sent to the Western Front where he was wounded twice; on the second occasion he was taken prisoner by the Germans. Roy was sent to Germany’s Soltau prisoner-of-war camp where he was held captive for 20 months. While there, he worked in the boiler house and electricity plant.
Roy was released in 1919 and returned home where he was given a hero’s welcome.
Amongst the Gold Museum’s collection of Roy Holloway’s personal artefacts, are his razor and photograph album from the Soltau camp.
Using these objects, Les reflects on his memories of his father and his wartime experience.
Film produced by Wind & Sky Productions, Jary Nemo (Director) and Lucinda Horrocks (Interviewer and Researcher).
Additional research provided by Herr Horst Meyer, Soltau Camp Memorial.
The Memories of War film project was supported by the Victorian Government and the Victorian Veterans Council.