Full name Walter Alan Holmes
Born September 10, 1925, Nuneaton
Died April 6, 2009, Nuneaton (aged 83 years 208 days)
Major teams England
|Test debut||England v Wales at Twickenham, Jan 21, 1950 match details|
|Last Test||England v Scotland at Twickenham, Mar 21, 1953 match details|
|Test Statsguru||Main menu | Career summary | Match list | Tournament list|
A front row stalwart for England in the 1950s, the versatile prop was the first senior international to come out of the Nuneaton club and went on to win 16 caps in four seasons.
He made his debut at the early age of 24 in an 11-5 defeat against Wales at Twickenham in January 1950 alongside Eric Evans and John Kendall-Carpenter in the front row.
England struggled for any sort of victory in 1950 and 1951, winning just two of his first eight games, but enjoyed great success in the following years. They beat Scotland, Ireland and France in 1952, with Holmes absent from the side for the 8-6 defeat against Wales, then topped the championship in 1953 when only a 9-9 draw with Ireland denied them a Grand Slam.
Holmes's final international appearance - he was still only 28 - saw the side cut loose against Scotland at Twickenham, scoring six three-point tries in a 26-8 triumph.
A conscripted mineworker - or Bevin Boy, after the scheme's architect, the Minister for Labour Aneurin Bevin - in the latter part of the Second World War, Holmes went on to work in factories in Coventry for Morris Engines and Massey Ferguson.
He played on into the 1960s for Nuneaton and also appeared for Warwickshire, the Midlands Counties and the Barbarians.
His versatility saw him play in all three rows of the scrum: usually in the back-row for his club and in the second row for his county. Three brothers - Bill, Harry and Sam - also played for the club and all four took the field together in the 1949/50 season.
Nuneaton has since produced fine front row forwards for England with Graham Rowntree and Darren Garforth learning their trade at the club.
He passed away on Monday, April 6, and is survived by wife Betty, son Martin and grandson Gary.