Oldest living Old Norvicensian and RAF war veteran dies aged 100

A headshot of a grey-haired man smiling with a poppy

Tony Holmes, the oldest living Old Norvicensian who attended Norwich School in the 1930s, has died at the age of 100 - Credit: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

The oldest living Old Norvicensian has died at the age of 100. 

Tony Holmes, who attended Norwich School in the 1930s, died at St John’s House care home, in the city.  

Born in Grantham, the RAF Second World War veteran rose up the ranks of Midland Bank after serving in the western desert of Egypt as well as in Iraq and Persia during the war. 

Tony Holmes, who attended Norwich School as a boarder between 1934-1937, celebrated his 100th birthd

Tony Holmes, who attended Norwich School as a boarder between 1934-1937, celebrated his 100th birthday on November 13. Picture: Norwich School - Credit: Norwich School

His daughter, Elizabeth Sturrock, of Rollesby, near Great Yarmouth, said he had “a passion for literature, the classics, and cricket”.  

“He was loved and respected by all who knew him, and was known as 'the gentleman of St John’s' - thank you to all the caring staff who looked after him so well.”  


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Mr Holmes became regional director for the Midland Bank, now HSBC, in the 1960s in Norwich before being called back to its head office in London and achieving a prestigious position running the bank.  

In 1980, he was commissioned to write a book entitled Midland: 150 Years of Banking History, drawing on his experience. 

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He was also recognised as a gifted public speaker.  

Twenty years ago, Mr Holmes began to lose his eyesight and was helped greatly by devices supplied by RNIB.   

He spent his final three years at St John’s House, on Heigham Road, where he celebrated an elaborate 100th birthday party on November 13 last year.  

A 100-year-old celebrates his birthday with cards, balloons, and a card from the queen

Tony Holmes, the oldest living Old Norvicensian who attended Norwich School in the 1930s, has died at the age of 100. Here he is pictured on his 100th birthday - Credit: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

School pupils and businesses pulled together for the celebration, organised by care home owners Castlemeadow Care due to coronavirus restrictions. 

Mr Holmes was presented with a folder containing over forty cards and poems, written by pupils from the Norwich School.  

And local businesses, including Norwich Theatre Royal and the HSBC branch on London Street, also supported the milestone.  

The aim was to receive 100 birthday cards for Mr Holmes but expectations were exceeded when more than 200 arrived on the day, including cards sent from many branches of HSBC across the country in recognition of his successful career.  

Norwich School pupils with cards, messages and poems from pupils to mark the 100th birthday of Tony

Norwich School pupils with cards, messages and poems from pupils to mark the 100th birthday of Tony Holmes. Picture: Norwich School - Credit: Norwich School

Mr Holmes was a “treasured” father of three, grandfather of seven and great-grandfather of nine.   

Every former pupil of Norwich School is considered an Old Norvicensian.   

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