The Soldiers’ General
By Geoffrey Travers
Published by Big Sky Publishing | RRP $34.99 in hardback
This is quite a project for someone to tackle who has never written a book before but for Geoffrey Travers, completing the story of his great-grandfather, which his uncle had begun years before, became a challenge he could not ignore.
So who was William Holmes, who rose to the rank of Major General, only to be cut down during a visit to the frontline at Messines in July 1917, the most senior Australian officer to be killed in action on the Western Front?
Few would know his story despite his name adorning one of the busiest roads in Sydney – General Holmes Drive which skirts Kingsford Smith Airport on its southern boundary.
He could be remembered for his lifelong public service in developing Sydney’s water supply and sewerage system but more likely, his name will be remembered for the reputation he earned during World War I for his fearlessness in battle and the respect and loyalty he inspired, despite his men being, at times, the victims of incompetent decisions from higher command over which he had no influence.
A life story certainly worth telling.