John Charles Francis Holland

Described in DNB as " a shortish, burly man who went bald early; a heavy cigarette smoker; quick-tempered, but recovering fast from anger. "

Much of WW2 British espionage ad counter-espionage were set up by Holland and C McV Gubbins including SOE and the Commandos

1897 Nov 21 Born in India (probably in Cawnpore) , the only son and elder child of Sir Thomas Henry Holland (1868–1947), geologist, and his first wife, Frances Maud (d. 1942)

1911 census at Ascham St. Vincent's School, Eastbourne, Sussex, England

1914 Holland left Rugby School for the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich

1915 Jul 28. He was commissioned into the Royal Engineers. He was posted to the eastern Mediterranean, arriving too late for the Gallipoli campaign, but serving on the Salonika front for most of the rest of the First World War.

1915 Jul 27 Commissioned 2nd Lt in RE

1917 He was mentioned in dispatches

1917 Jul 1. Promoted Lt in RE

Served in WW1 in RE and RAF

1918 Oct 11. Award DFC for action in Salonica. During a period of seven months this officer has flown over 200 hours, carrying out many long distance reconnaissances and contact patrols and rendering most valuable service. On one patrol his machine, in company with another, was attacked by five others. One of these was shot down and the remainder were driven off. The reconnaissance was successfully completed

1919 Mar 3. Relinquished commission on ceasing to be employed

1921 Jan 9. Holland was shot and wounded by an IRA hit squad in Cork. He was badly wounded. He came to admire the technical skills of his Irish guerrilla opponents. See his obitury below, thi wounding is difficult to reasearch. It is not clear why he was in Ireland

1922 Holland reverted from temporary major to lieutenant;

1923 Jan 9 Engagement announced

1924 Jan 30 Promoted Capt in RE

1924 Apr 23 The marriage of Captain J. C. F. Holland. D.F.C., R.E., and Miss Nancy Brunyate will take place the Parish Church. Cuckfield

1924 May 19 Capt J C F Holland appointed Adjutant in RE until 1 Nov 1927

1931 Promoted Major

1934 - 36 .  Holland passed out from the Staff College, and held a staff captain's appointment in northern command in 1934–6.

1938, due for promotion but medically unfit, he took an appointment as a second-grade staff officer in the War Office to conduct research in any subject he chose. He chose irregular warfare. His branch, in which he was at first the only officer, was called GS (R).

1939 Early in 1939 his branch was renamed MI R, and placed in the military intelligence directorate, though Holland concentrated rather on operations. Encouraged by A. P. Wavell, he laid the foundations of several wartime secret services, and was one of the originators of the commandos.

1939. For a few months in the summer he worked at 2 Caxton Street, Westminster, alongside L. D. Grand, a Woolwich contemporary who ran the then inadmissible section D of the secret service. On the outbreak of war in September Holland went back to the War Office.

Holland gathered like-minded officers round him, and dispatched each in turn to run the service for which he seemed fit: N. R. Crockatt, whose prowess he had admired at Rugby, to secure intelligence from prisoners of war; E. R. Coombe to form the inter-services security board, which handled codenames and deception as well as security; Gerald Templer to run the security of the expeditionary force; and M. R. Jefferis to invent and exploit secret gadgets. He sent Colin Gubbins to the independent companies in Norway, then to command projected stay-behind parties to damage the communications of any invading German forces, and eventually to run the Special Operations Executive (SOE). The latter was formed in July 1940 when Holland's staff, and Grand's, and a semi-secret propaganda branch of the Foreign Office were amalgamated.

Holland thereupon went back to regimental duty, on being offered a regular lieutenant-colonel's command.

1943 Jul 7. Dep Engineer in chief .Maj.-Gen. J. C. F, Holland, D.F.C.

1945 He was appointed CB in 1945, and was admitted to the American Legion of Merit and received the medal of freedom with silver palm.

1948 He was Dep Chief of Staff for Western Command and was appointed Deputy Quartemaster General

1949–50 he was again employed, briefly, on secret planning

1951. He retired

1956 Mar 17 Died at his elder son Charles Holland's home in Wimbledon

Castle Intelligence