A senior AE2 rating, Charles Holderness was born on 22 July 1878 in Kent. He was one of the experienced submariners lent by the RN to the RAN in 1913.
At Belemedik POW camp, conditions were difficult for Holderness, who was then 37 years old. Although it cannot be verified, he appears to be the Charlie referred to in mid 1916 in George Kerr’s secret diary: ‘Charlie has had several stints in the hospital with very high fever’—probably from a virulent form of malaria that swept the camp at that time.
Holderness just survived the traumatic prison experience and recurrent bouts of serious illness. On release, he made his way home via Alexandria in Egypt, where he was reunited with his wife Daisy in time for Christmas 1918. His Naval Service Record reveals that he was one of the few returning POWs from Turkey to be granted a full pension when he was finally demobilised in March 1919, at the age of 41.