Thame Remembers Lieutenant Edward Greville Canning Holbrook
Edward Greville Canning Holbrook was born in Dover in 1907, the only son of Kathleen Hay (nee Canning) and Charles Edward Holbrook. His father was a master mariner and Trinity House pilot, and his mother a music teacher.
Edward went to Lord Williams’s Grammar School, Thame in 1922, leaving in 1925, and then travelled to Canada with his mother, his father having died in 1921. He returned to England in 1930, and by 1938 he was an actor manager at Sadlers Wells in London. He married Leonora Paton in 1939, and went to live in Cambridge.
He was gazetted as a Temporary Lieutenant (Special Branch), RNVR, in August 1941, and became a specialist in mine clearing activities, for which he was (posthumously) Mentioned in Dispatches “for courage and skill in dangerous minesweeping operations during Operation Antidote” in the western Mediterranean in May 1943.
He was based at the shore establishment HMS Cormorant, Gibraltar, when on 2nd November 1943, he was killed with two others in an explosion off Naples, probably as a result of mine clearance.
No bodies were recovered, and Lieutenant E G C Holbrook, is commemorated on Portsmouth Naval Memorial. He is also remembered on the Lord Williams’s School honours board in Thame.