-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

We will remember them
Chainbar divider

In Remembrance of
Lancelot Ernest Holland

Photo of
Date of birth: 13th September 1887
Place of birth: Middleton Cheney, Northamptonshire, England
Parents: Tom and Helen Holland
Wife: Phyllis Holland
Service: Royal Navy
Rank: Vice-Admiral
Service Number: N/A
Joined Hood: 12th May 1941 (Vice-Admiral)
Left Hood: 24th May 1941 (loss of ship) (Vice-Admiral)
Click here to print memorial poster




Biographical Information:

Lancelot Holland was born on 13th September 1887 to Tom and of Helen Holland. Tom was a director of the Hunt & Edmunds brewery in Banbury. The family lived at The Holt, Middleton Cheney at the time of Lancelot's birth, later moving to Eydon Hall. Lancelot had five brothers, Cecil, Aubrey, Gerald, Ernest and Tom, plus one sister, Enid. Lancelot Holland entered the Navy as a cadet on 15th May 1887. Upon entry, he was educated at H.M.S. Britannia. He later served in China before specialising as a gunnery officer.

He was promoted to Captain on 30th 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 1931, he was assigned as the Head of the British Naval Mission to Greece. He held this post until September of 1932. For his service in Greece 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 Charles Forbes. 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 C.B. 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 ( again 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. The Hollands 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.





Additional Photos



Three photos of Lancelot Holland from the 1930s.














A wartime painting by his friend Douglas Wales-Smith




Lancelot Holland's signature





Memorials

Southsea National Naval War Memorial

Panel 45, Column 1






Hood Chapel, Church of St. John the Baptist, Boldre, Hampshire






H.M.S. Excellent Roll of Honour









Sources
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
'Register of Deaths of Naval Ratings' (data extracted by Director of Naval Personnel (Disclosure Cell), Navy Command HQ, 2009)
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)
Paul Bevand (additional information, November 2020)