Paul Holmes was born during the Battle of Britain, on 14 September 1940.
It was unsafe to stay in London, so his mother gave birth in a hospital in Epping, Essex. Shortly afterwards a German bomb descended by parachute and was found hanging from a tree in the grounds. They were hastily transferred by ambulance to a different hospital.
They lived in Ashburton for about three years, while his father served in the Military Police stationed in Croydon. When it was safe to return, the family moved from Ashburton to a house in Addiscombe, where a row of houses opposite had been bombed. Bombsites were a dubious playground for town children for several years after the war ended, with few precautionary measures taken to keep them out.
After the return of peace in 1945, Paul’s older siblings were sent to local schools while he attended Miss Peachy’s nursery and began his lifelong obsession with reading and collecting books. He left school and got a job at a private bank in Mayfair, London. Paul married Anita in 1964 and in 1966 bought their first house and had three children. He set up Lloyds Private Banking and became Chief Manager in 1986 and retired in 1993. Paul and Anita set up a financial consultancy together and after twenty years decided to retire in 2013.