Philip Holmes

19 entries
  • "Catherine, Our condolences, We are so sorry but we have..."
    - Michael Kitson
  • "I was fortunate to meet and to get to know Pip when I was..."
    - W. A. Douglas Yuill
  • "The first time I met Col. Holmes was when I served him at..."
    - Lorna Jacobson
  • "Colonel Pip Holmes A man that was my mentor and guide for..."
    - Colonel Gludo
  • "Although I was not in his unit, it was my pleasure to know..."
    - Ian Smith
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HOLMES, Colonel Philip (Pip) Despard Pemberton, DFC, CD, AdeC It was in the early hours of Friday, May 18, that Philip Despard Pemberton Holmes, 83, "slipped the surly bonds of earth...and danced the skies...where never lark or eagle flew...and touched the face of God. " Known to all as "Pip " he was born February 2, 1924, the son of Major Cuthbert Holmes and Philippa Despard Pemberton. Educated at Brentwood College School he joined the RCAF at the age of 17 and flew 33 WW2 missions with 433 Squadron, No 6 Group Bomber Command out of Skipton-onSwale, Yorkshire, England. He left the service with the rank of Squadron Leader, Flight Commander, and a proud holder of the Distinguished Flying Cross and other battle awards. It was a matter of pride and air force legend that Squadron Leader Holmes always completed his missions -and always brought his aircraft and crew home safely. After the war he joined the pioneer real estate and property management firm of Pemberton, Holmes Limited, founded by his great grandfather, Joseph Despard Pemberton in 1887. From 1965 to 1988 he was President of the company and also President of Fort Mortgage and Pemberton and Son. He retired from business, sold the operating company of Pemberton, Holmes but retained the Presidency of Pemberton and Son. Throughout and beyond his professional life he demanded "corporate and personal citizenship must be our battle cry. " And he lived up to the high standards set for himself and those who worked with him. He served on many professional associations involved in real estate and from 1967 to 1982 was a director of the International Real Estate Federation. From 1975 -1977 he was World President of this organization, the first Canadian to hold that honour. Although he retired from the RCAF in 1945 he maintained close ties with the Force. In 1949 he became President of the Air Force Officer's Association of Vancouver Island; in 1950-52 he was the first commanding officer of 2455AC and W Squadron, RCAF Auxiliary Reserves. In 1981 he was named Honourary Lieutenant Colonel 11 (Victoria) Service Battalion and in 1986 elevated to the rank of Colonel. In 1960 he was appointed Honourary Aide-de-Camp to then Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia the Honourable Clarence Wallace, and held the position until 1963. In 1978 he was again appointed to this position to the then Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia the Honourable Henry P. Bell-Irving. He has served in the same role for every Lieutenant Governor since. On ceremonial occasions his towering figure, crisp uniform and moustache were as familiar on parade as those he served. At a dinner in his honour in 2006 Lieutenant Governor Iona Campagnolo described him perfectly: "'Pip', you are a model of civility, restraint, loyalty, duty and a certain undefined elegance to which all of us aspire. We salute you on behalf of all those you have served. " She then proposed a toast "to a great partnership: Colonel Philip 'Pip' Holmes and his love, Catherine Holmes and the Crown of British Columbia. " Catherine, whom he married in August, 1964, remained a tower of strength through the long illness which eventually led to kidney failure and death. He put up a gallant fight and did not go gentle "into that good night. " He fought "against the dying of the light " until he could fight no more. And then it was time to go -Per Ardua Ad Astra - "through hardship to the stars. " A funeral service will be held at CHRIST CHURCH CATHEDRAL, Quadra at Courtney Streets on Tuesday, May 29, 2007 at 2:00 p.m. No flowers by request. Donations of remembrance may be made to the Philip Holmes Bursary Fund, Brentwood College School, 2735 Mount Baker Road, Mill Bay, BC VOR 2P1. 371136
Published in The Times Colonist from May 20 to May 23, 2007