The Soldier's Details

Surname:
Holst
First Name:
Eric Joseph
Nick Name:
Widgee
Rank:
Private
Regimental #:
WX8678
Company:
'A' Company
Enlisted:
23.10.1940
DOB:
9.11.1913
Place of Birth:
Perth, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Andrew Mathias Holst
Mothers's Name:
Rose Theresa Holst
Religion:
Roman Catholic
Pre-war Occupation:
Prospector
Memorial:
Epitaph, Labuan Memorial, Panel 18, Age 31.
Singapore:
Selarang Camp Changi, Johore Bahru, Adam Park, Selarang Barracks Changi
Force:
'E' Force Borneo
POW#:
4/6231 & 1745
Cause of Death:
Malaria
Place of Death:
Sandakan No1 Camp
Date of Death:
20.05.1945

General Description

L-R Jim Gilmour, "Widgee" Holst, "Blue" McMahon, Bert Norton, Jim Elliott, Clarrie McDonald. Kneeling - Jim Dore
L-R Jim Gilmour, “Widgee” Holst, “Blue” McMahon, Bert Norton, Jim Elliott, Clarrie McDonald. Kneeling – Jim Dore
Quorn, SA. 11 October 1941. Group portrait of four members of A Company, 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion in front of a train locomotive en route from Woodside camp to Alice Springs. From left to right: Charlie Parke, WX7007 Edward George (Eddie) Burton (died of illness on 21 February 1945 in Sandakan, Borneo, whilst a Prisoner of War (POW)), A. S. Parke, unidentified.
Quorn, SA. 11 October 1941. ‘A’ Company members, 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion en route from Woodside Camp to Alice Springs. L-R  Albert (Bert) Parke WX7007,  Edward George (Eddie) Burton (died of illness 21 February 1945 Sandakan) Charles Spencer (Charlie) Parke and Eric Joseph Holst WX8678 (perished Sandakan March 1945).

 

HOLST, Private, ERIC JOSEPH, WX8678, A.I.F. 2/4 M.G. Bn., Australian Infantry. 20 March 1945. Age 31. Son of Andrew Mathias Holst and Rose Theresa Holst; husband of Alice Eileen Holst, of Maylands, Western Australia. Panel 18.

Labuan Memorial, Malaysia.

 

Eric Holst’s great neice  was selected to join the The Premier’s Anzac Student Tour, 2012.  This tour included a visit to Borneo and the Sandakan Death March where Angela was able to, on behalf of her family, pay respects to Eric Holst,

At the 2/4th Annual Luncheon following the Service to Remember the End of the War and VJ Day Angela Gazey was invited to be guest speaker.  Robyn Cleaver, Leader of the Student Tour showed slides and talked of the student’s amazement when learning of life and death on the Sandakan March.

In 2014 Angela Gazey, then aged 18 years, was the chosen RSLWA Youth Ambassador and  spoke at the Anzac Day Service.  She urged her generation to study the experiences of their forebears.

“Our freedom came at a cost, and it is important we learn about these events and learn about our past,” Ms Gazey said.

Angela Gazey
Angela Gazey

 

For further reading see Stories Angela Gazey & Eric Holst

 

HOLST
HOLST

 

Holst, Eric Joseph
Holst, Eric Joseph

 

WA. Paybook photograph, taken on enlistment, of WX8678 Private Eric Joseph Holst, 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion, Australian Infantry. He was one of over 2000 Allied prisoners of war (POW) held in the Sandakan POW camp in north Borneo, having been transferred there from Singapore as a part of E Force. The 500 Australian and 500 British POW’s who made up E Force, left Changi on 28 March 1943, on board the S.S. DeKlerk arriving at Berhala Island (adjacent to Sandakan Harbour) on 15 April 1943. The POW’s were held there until 5 June, when they were taken by barge to Sandakan. The next day they were transferred to the 8 Mile Camp, which was about half a mile from the B Force compound. Private Holst, aged 31, died as a prisoner of the Japanese on 20 March 1945. He was the son of Andrew Mathias Holst and Rose Theresa Holst, and the husband of Alice Eileen Holst, of Maylands, WA. He is commemorated on the Labuan Memorial Panel 18. (Photograph copied from AWM232, items 4 and 5. Personal information from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Database.)

Eric married about 1941 to Alice Eileen Reichelt in Perth.

Camp Locations:

  • Adam Park Camp - Singapore
  • Johore Bahru, - Malaysia
  • Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Sandakan - Borneo ***
Back