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Robert 'Bob' Holland - living life in the fast lane

Robert Hugh Holland was born in Ceylon on 1st December 1919 and educated at Malvern College. He entered RAF College Cranwell in April 1938 as a Flight Cadet. The outbreak of war caused the course to be shortened and Holland graduated in September 1939. He was granted a Permanent Commission in October.

Holland arrived at 11 Group Pool, St. Athan on 24th October and, after converting to Spitfires, he joined the newly-reformed 92 Squadron at Tangmere at the end of the month. Over France on 23rd May 1940 he claimed two Me110s destroyed and a Ju88 damaged; on the 24th a Do17 destroyed; and on 2nd June a Me109 destroyed and a He111 damaged near Dunkirk.

Holland shared in the destruction of a Do17 on 8th July and shared a Ju88 on the 25th. He was shot down in combat west of Ashford on 15th September, baled out and was injured on landing. He probably destroyed a Me109 in the action. Holland was admitted to hospital at East Grinstead. At some time he was treated by Archie Mclndoe and became a Guinea Pig.

On 15th October he got a probable Me109, on the 26th and 1st and 2nd November he claimed Me109s destroyed, on the 13th damaged a Do17 and on the 15th and 17th damaged Me109's.

He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 26th November 1940).

In early 1941 Holland was posted to 91 Squadron at Hawkinge as a Flight Commander. He claimed a Me109 destroyed on 13th March, got a probable Me109 on 24th April and damaged one on 11th May.

He remained in the RAF after the war and died on 17th November 1954 in an aircraft accident as a Wing Commander. He was in Vampire FB Mk. 5 VV229 of 233 OCU which collided with VV552 of the same unit and exploded near Port Eyon, Gower, Wales during a practice formation attack on 17th November 1954. F/Sgt. PWD Green in VV552 was also killed.

Photos and text courtesy of Battle of Britain Monument website

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