Flight Sergeant William Charles Hollier
On 1st July 1928, the R.A.F. lost one of it’s finest aerobatic pilots in a freak accident when Avro 504N (H2534), of the Practice Camp, Sutton Bridge, dived into the ground not far from RAF Henlow, killing Flight Lieutenant Harold Charles Calvey of No.23 Squadron, Kenley and Flight Sergeant William Charles Hollier.
William Charles Hollier was born 18th May, 1893, in Castlethorpe, Buckinghamshire. He was the only child of William Hollier, a police sergeant, and Jane Hollier (nee Clarke). The 1901 census shows the Hollier family living in police quarters at Chattenden, Rochester, Kent, and they were still in the area when William was 17, working as a joiner’s apprentice.
In February, 1915, William enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps, mustering as an Aero Rigger. Six months later, he married Ruth Margaret Rogers, in Gravesend – the couple had four children, two girls and two boys, between 1915 and 1921.
From August 1916 to March 1918, William served in France. He was sent overseas again in 1923, when he was posted to Iraq.
On 13th January, 1926, William joined No.23 (Fighter) Squadron as a carpenter/rigger and was still with the squadron when they came to Kenley early in 1927. The news of William’s death at Clifton must have come as a terrible shock to his young family, living in married quarters at Kenley. No.23 Squadron were stationed at nearby RAF Henlow prior to their move to Kenley, so they would have known the crash site well. It must have seemed all the more tragic that William had survived the Great War only to be killed in a peacetime accident.
Rest in peace Sir and thank you for your service.