838138 Pte. Harold Holley was born in Holland Township, Ontario, on August 15th, 1899, to Adam and Agnes Holley. He was seventh of nine sons born to the couple. Harold would join five of his brothers by enlisting in the C.E.F.

The 147th Battalion C.E.F. was authorized in November of 1915 and they recruited throughout the County over the winter. The men were billeted locally or put up at the local armouries in the county's major urban centres, including Markdale. The battalion mobilized in Owen Sound in May of 1917, to finalize the administration and organization of the unit, just prior to their departure for Camp Niagara later that month. As the conditions in this Camp were wanting the unit moved to the new training facility of Camp Borden in late June.

It was while the unit was undergoing training at Camp Borden that sixteen year old Harold, lying about his age, attested to the 147th Battalion on August 7th, 1916, claiming to be eighteen.

The unit received their orders to proceed overseas in September and while en-route to Halifax, there was an outbreak of diphtheria and they were detained in Amherst, Nova Scotia, for over a month. The unit finally sailed for Great Britain, on November 14th 1916.

On January 1st, 1917, the 147th Battalion ceased to exist when it became the nucleus for the 8th Reserve Battalion, whose task it was to supply reinforcements to the 58th Battalion and the 4th C.M.R. Harold was taken on strength of the 4th C.M.R. on April 21st, 1917.

Reporting for duty six days later, Harold served with the unit over the through the Hill 70 and was promoted to Lance Corporal in September. Attached to the Canadian Corps staging camp during the Battle of Passchendaele, Harold returned to the unit and served out the remainder of the war there. Surviving the battles of the final 100 days, he marched into Mons.

Shortly after the Armistice Harold was hospitalized and evacuated to England. On his return to the 4th C.M.R. he was granted leave. When his leave was over he remained in England and was posted to the 1st Central Ontario Regimental Depot where he reverted to Private.

839138 Private Harold Holley was struck off strength of the Canadian Expeditionary Force on March 30th, 1919, but sadly died in Detroit, U.S.A. that same year. His service is remembered on the Markdale War Memorial.

Biography credit: George Auer, with thanks.