-H.M.S. Hood Crew Information-
H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour
Memorials to Men Lost in the Sinking of Hood, 24th May 1941

Updated 08-May-2014

We will remember them
Chainbar divider

In Remembrance of
LANCELOT ERNEST HOLLAND, CB

Photo of Vice Admiral Lancelot Holland courtesy of Geoffrey Holland, July 2008
Service: Royal Navy
Rank: Vice-Admiral Commanding Battle Cruiser Squadron
Date Joined Hood: 12 May 1941
Biographical Information: Lancelot Holland was born on 13 September 1887 to Thomas and of Helen Holland. Thomas was a brewer for the Hunt & Edmunds brewery. His family resided in the Banbury area. Lancelot had five brothers, Cecil, Aubrey, Gerald, John and Tom, plus one sister, Enid.

Lancelot Holland is believed to have entered the Navy sometime before World War 1. Upon entry, he was educated at H.M.S. Britannia. He was trained as an artillery specialist.

He was promoted to Captain on 30 June 1926. From May 1929 to February 1931 he served as Flag Captain of the cruiser H.M.S. Hawkins and Chief Staff Officer to Rear-Admiral Commanding 2nd Cruiser Squadron. In May of 1931, he was assigned as the Head of the British Naval Mission to Greece. He held this post until September of 1932. Sometime during this assignment he was made a Commander of the Order of the Redeemer.

Holland's next major assignment was as Flag Captain of the battleship H.M.S. Revenge and Chief Staff Officer to Vice-Admiral Commanding 1st Battle Squadron. He served in this capacity from July 1934 to July 1935. He was promoted to Commodore in February 1936. He subsequently served as the Commanding Officer of H.M.S. Victory Royal Navy Barracks, Portsmouth. He held this position until February 1937. During the last seven months of this time period, he also served as the Naval ADC to the King. Upon leaving this position, he served as the Assistant Chief of Naval Staff.

Holland was promoted to Rear-Admiral and took command of the 2nd Battle Squadron in January 1938. He commanded the squadron from the battleship H.M.S. Resolution until August 1939. During this timeframe, he received his CB. Following this he took a new position as the Admiralty's representative to the Air Ministry. He held this post until mid 1940.

In June 1940, Holland was appointed as the Chief of Staff, Home Fleet (under Admiral Sir Charles Forbes). He served in H.M.S. Rodney and then in H.M.S. Nelson. He was promoted to Vice-Admiral in August 1940.

In November 1940, Holland was appointed Vice-Admiral Commanding, Eighteenth Cruiser Squadron. Commanding from H.M.S. Manchester, he participated in Operation "Collar" and the Battle of Spartivento. He remained in this position until May 1941.

His final assignment was as the Vice-Admiral Commanding the Battle Cruiser Squadron and Second in Command of the Home Fleet in May 1941. He served in this capacity from aboard the battle cruiser H.M.S. Hood. VADM Holland was lost at his post in the Compass Platform during the sinking of Hood on the morning of 24th May 1941. He was subsequently Mentioned in Despatches. He was 53 years old at the time of his loss.

He was the husband of Phyllis Holland, of Mayfair, London. He and Phyllis had one child, a son named John. Although young, John was an exceptionally gifted and prolific painter and poet. Sadly, he died of polio whilst travelling abroad in 1936. He was just 18 years old. Understandably, the death affected the Hollands very deeply. He and his wife donated a porch in remembrance of John, to the Church of St John the Baptist in Boldre, New Forest, Hampshire. They also published a book of John's poems and paintings.

Since his death, Holland has occasionally been criticised for his handling of Hood during her final battle. Most of the criticism is unfair and based upon a great deal of hindsight. When one considers what he knew at that time as well as the situation that unfolded before him, it is clear that VADM Holland's battle plan was methodically and logically executed. The results should have been different, but fate is not always predictable nor is it kind. You can read an excellent review of VADM Holland's tactics by clicking here.

We have no additional information. If you have any additional details, please contact us.

Memorial Information
Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Panel 45, Column 1(click to view panel)
Also memorialised at
H.M.S. Excellent
and
Hood Chapel, Church of St John the Baptist, Boldre, Hampshire

Additional Photographs

VADM Holland sometime before the loss of Hood     VADM Holland sometime before the loss of Hood
VADM Holland sometime before the loss of Hood     Wartime painting of VADM Holland courtesy of Patrick Wales-Smith.
Above- Three photos of Lancelot Holland from the 1930s. The bottom/right image is a wartime painting ; Below- Lancelot Holland's signature
Signature of Lancelot Ernest Holland...from document signed 1.5 weeks prior to his loss


Sources
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
The National Archives (confidential reports, various reports and logs)
Church of St John the Baptist, Boldre, New Forest, Hampshire, UK
Colin A. Mackie (corrected service information, February 2014)
Navy Lists (courtesy of J.N. Houterman)
H.M.S. Nelson, Portsmouth, Hampshire, UK (photo, May 2001)
Angela Allen (information, July 2004)
Patrick Wales-Smith (photo & information, late 2007)
Geoffrey Holland (photo, July 2008)