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Desmond Charles Holland

Portrait (Northland roll of honour and servicemen of WW II [electronic resource]. (2002).) - This image may be subject to copyright

Portrait (Northland roll of honour and servicemen of WW II [electronic resource]. (2002).) - This im …


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Desmond Charles AWMM
  • Surname
    Holland AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    • NZ427478 AWMM
    • WWII 427478 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi / Hapū / Waka / Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    2 February 1924 AWMM AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    • Charles Holland (father), Portland, North Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
    • WW2 Father: Mr. C. A. Holland, Portland, Whangarei AWMM
    • WW2 Parents: Mr. & Mrs. C. A. Holland of Whangarei AWMM
  • Relationship status


Wars and conflicts

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Training and Enlistment

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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes
    Killed on Active Service, Cause of Death AWMM

Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Son of Charles Arthur and Ethel Georgina Holland of Portland, North Auckland.

    Desmond Holland was educated at Portland Primary School and Whangarei High School and passed the University Entrance Examination. He continued his studies by night classes at Seddon Memorial Technical College. He played cricket, tennis, football and took part in athletics. He was employed as a clerk at the Naval Base at Devonport and it was from there than he enlisted.

    Initially he was enlisted for aerodrome defence duties at Rukahia, Hamilton on 11 July 1942 and worked there and at Tauranga until remustered to aircrew and posted to the Initial Training Wing at Rotorua on 4 January 1943.

    He began pilot training on 17 March 1943 but this was terminated and he was posted to Rongotai for remustering to Wireless Operator Air Gunner. He left for Canada on 18 July and arrived there 18 August. By 21 August 1943 he was at his first posting in Canada and was awarded the Wireless Operator Air Gunner Badge and commissioned in the rank of Pilot Officer on 5 May 1944. He was promoted to Flying Officer on 5 November 1944. From 17 May 1944 until he embarked for the United Kingdom he was at No. 1 'Y' Depot, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

    He arrived at No. 12 Royal New Zealand Air Force Personnel Despatch and Reception Centre, Padgate, Lancashire on 2 June 1944 and on 2 August reported to No. 10 Radio School, Carew Cheriton, Pembrokeshire. His operational training began on 12 September at No. 5 (Coastal) Operational Training Unit, Turnberry, Scotland where he crewed up and completed his training as wireless operator of Warwick aircraft before being posted on 29 December to No. 279 Squadron at Thornaby, County Durham.

    Flight Officer Holland's medals were sent to his father, Mr C. A. Holland, c/o PO Portland, Whangarei in 1950.

    Six men who had been at school together in Portland, Whangarei joined the air force and trained in Canada. Charles Frederick Clarke (630828 NZ4310553), one of two surviving members of this group, attended a Portland Primary School reunion in November 1998 and researched details of this group with the intention of contributing a brick for the new memorial being constructed at Winnipeg in Canada to commemorate those who trained in Canada during World War 2. The name, date of birth, place of origin and date of death was to be inscribed on each brick. The Royal New Zealand Air Force crew members that Charles Frederick Clarke (630828 NZ4310553) is commemorating in this way are: Aubrey John Clarke (NZ429177) his brother; D'Arcy Clive Melville Ducker (NZ411749), Desmond Charles Holland (NZ427478), Douglas Jack McLean (NZ414654) and Raymond Anthony Lindsay (NZ392047).

    Auckland Museum Armoury Resource Centre, Vertical File - An article in the North Shore Advertiser 15 July 1999 which gives details about the money raised for New Zealand's contribution to the memorial building fund in Winnipeg, the opening ceremony and the role of Flight Lieutenant Bill Phillips and the president of the North Shore Brevet Club, Graeme Gemmell, in the project

    Attended Whangarei High School, Seddon Memorial Technical College (Source: RNZAF Biographies (R17845611)) AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    7 January 1945 AWMM
    Age 20 AWMM
    DinsdaleCounty Durham AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery, Yorkshire, England AWMM Sec. G. Row E. Grave 14. AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name
    Auckland War Memorial Museum, World War 2 Hall of Memories AWMM

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  • External links
  • References
    • Northland roll of honour and servicemen of WW II [electronic resource]. (2002). Whangarei, N.Z.: Returned Services Association. AWMM
    • Martyn, E. (1998-2008). For Your Tomorrow (Vols. 1-3). Christchurch, N.Z.: Volplane Press. AWMM
    • This record is a work in progress and was partially compiled from the “Database of New Zealand Airmen who took part in Advanced Air Training in Canada during WW2”. Researched by Ivan and Lorna Lindsey of Tauranga. N.Z. 2003 – 2012. Reproduced with permission. AWMM
    • Information kindly provided by family AWMM
    • RNZAF [Royal New Zealand Air Force] Biographies of Deceased Personnel 1939 - 1945 (Bound Volumes) - Ha - Hy. Archives New Zealand (R17845611) - Former archives reference: AIR118 AWMM
    • Please note that the 12 volumes of the "RNZAF [Royal New Zealand Air Force] Biographies of Deceased Personnel 1939-1945" held at Archives NZ (formerly known as AIR118) should be used in conjunction with Errol Martyn's "For Your Tomorrow". FYT reflects detailed examination of all of the AIR118 bios which contain many inaccuracies and omissions. AWMM
    • List of RNZAF [Royal New Zealand Air Force] Personnel - List of Personnel Killed or Missing in Various Theatres, 1940 - 1945. [List of Killed - Officers (Canada, Pacific, Europe) - Airmen (Canada, India and Far East)]. Archives New Zealand (R17845748) AWMM


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10 September 2023KelvinNorfolk, EnglandResearcher

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