Holland, Charles Julius Chennell (No. 745631)

Holland, Charles Julius Chennell (Julius)

Sergeant (Observer)

No. 745631, 107 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Killed on active service on Tuesday 23 July 1940 (aged 19)

Buried:

Tangmere (St. Andrew) Churchyard, Sussex, England (Plot E Row 1 Grave 460)

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Bangor and District War Memorial

Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s)

Bangor Grammar School

Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland (OSNI) Roll of Honour

Family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery

BIOGRAPHY

Charles Julius Chennell Holland was born on 20 January 1920 in India and he was a son of Julius Alfred and Beryl Ethyl de la Hoyde Holland of 8 Hazeldene Park, Bangor.  Julius Holland Junior had a sister called Phyllis who was a local table-tennis champion.  The Holland family moved to Bangor in 1933 when Julius’s father transferred from the Imperial Civil Service to the Northern Ireland Ministry of Finance.  When Julius Holland was a boy, he sang in the choir of Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s).  Educated at Bangor Central Public Elementary School and Bangor Grammar School from 1933 until 1936, Julius Holland had ‘pronounced literary ability’.  He was an active member of both the Debating and Dramatic Societies, and he took part in several public performances.  The Headmaster of Bangor Grammar School said of Julius Holland that he was ‘a boy one could not easily forget, of lovable character, undoubted ability and with an urge towards leadership’.  After leaving school Julius Holland entered the Ordnance Survey Department of the Northern Ireland Civil Service.  In 1939 he joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and commenced his training in 24 Elementary & Reserve Flying Training School at Sydenham.  In 1940 he had further training in Monkton, Ayrshire; RAF Upwood in Cambridgeshire and RAF West Raynham in Norfolk

It was reported in the 3 August 1940 edition of the County Down Spectator that Sergeant Observer Julius Holland had been killed on active service.  He lost his life returning to RAF Wattisham in Suffolk after a raid on the airfield at Criel in Northern France.  His Bristol Blenheim Mark IV (L9414) aircraft was shot down by a German night fighter and crashed into the sea.  His body was washed ashore at Littlehampton on the Sussex coast and he was buried with full military honours in Tangmere Churchyard.  There is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:

HE WROTE:

WHAT GREATER CAUSE IS THERE

THAN THAT OF RIGHT,

FREEDOM AND GOD

Sergeant (Observer) Charles Julius Chennell Holland (No. 745631) was one of a three-man crew and the others who lost their lives were:

  • Pilot Officer Peter George Anthony Watson (aged 19) from Leeds
  • Sergeant William Patrick O’Heney

Their bodies were never recovered, and they are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial in Surrey.

Julius Holland was a prolific letter writer and the last letter that he wrote to his mother was dated 20 July 1940.  The telegram reporting that he was missing was dated 23 July 1940 and the telegram reporting his death arrived with his mother one week later.  After his death, extensive extracts from many of the letters written to his mother were published in the local press.  When he got his Flying Badge he wrote, ‘Today is the grandest day of my life; it ranks with my scholarship examination and my Civil Service examination’.  In another letter he wrote, ‘You have heard often that old proverb – one good moment is enough for any man.  My moment will come I know, and I am sure I shall be ready and do the right thing before it passes’.

Julius Holland was 19 when he died, and he is commemorated on Bangor and District War Memorial; in Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s); in Bangor Grammar School and on the family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery.

His father, Julius Alfred Holland, died on 2 April 1934 (aged 39) and his mother, Beryl Ethel de la Hoyde Holland, died on 23 April 1999 (aged 96).