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David F. Holmes

Captain, YMCA in Italy

Documentary materials provided by

(1) Katharine Holmes Millar, daughter of Captain David Frederick Holmes,
(2) Katharine Holmes Millar's son Douglas Millar, Grandson of Captain David Frederick Holmes

David Frederick Holmes was born in Chicago, IL, January 8, 1886; he died in 1976
Son of William Holmes (born in England)
His adult height was 5'10"; blue gray eyes; blond hair

  • David Frederick Holmes worked for the YMCA, his daughter thinks as a physical education teacher. She recalls, "He was very adept at gymnastics as well as swimming and coached these subjects throughout his life." [Katharine Holmes Millar, e-mail to Frank Mazzi, 13 May 2009]
  • M.A., Loyola University, Chicago, IL
  • After receiving his M.A., Holmes became a high school science and physical education teacher, spending his entire teaching career in the Chicago public school system until his retirement.
    • Note—His daughter Katharine Holmes was a student one year in his science class. She writes, "I still have a Round Robin letter with five of my classmates who remember my dad." [Katharine Holmes Millar, e-mail to Frank Mazzi, 13 May 2009]
    • Note—the innovative teaching of her father inspired Katharine to become a teacher [Katharine Holmes Millar, letter to Frank Mazzi, 19 March 2009]
  • When the U. S. declared war, David Frederick Holmes, too old to enlist, volunteered for service with the YMCA.
  • On July 12, 1918, at age 32, he applied for a passport to leave the U.S. for Great Britain and France in order to work for the YMCA in Europe [Passport Application, District Court of the United States, Northern District of Illinois, 12 July 1918]
  • The YMCA sent him to northern Italy, near Auronzo; he served as a "Service Ambassador," providing, just behind the lines, recreation for troops, and delivering mail and PX supplies. [Douglas Millar, e-mail to Frank Mazzi, 13 April 2009]
    • Note—His daughter notes, "He told us very little about his time there or I may have forgotten what he said. I wish I had asked more questions then and later." [Katharine Millar, e-mail to Frank Mazzi, 17 April 2009]
  • After the war Holmes returned to teaching
  • During the Depression Holmes always had his job, but he was not always paid. In lieu of paychecks teachers were given Tax Anticipation Warrants, so it was difficult to provide for his family of five. His daughter Katharine recalls that some merchants offered cash at less than face value of the warrants, for example, $250 for a $400 warrant. [Katharine Holmes Millar, e-mail to Frank Mazzi, 13 May 2009]
  • After retiring as a teacher Holmes earned a degree in physical therapy from the University of California. His daughter recalls that "this was something he was always interested in." [Katharine Holmes Millar, e-mail to Frank Mazzi, 13 May 2009]
  • Holmes died of arteriosclerosis in 1976 at the age of 90.