Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthNovember 27, 1883
Place of BirthCoventry, Warwickshire
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinHerbert Holland (brother), Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingSurveyor
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number422402
Service RecordLink to Service Record
Battalion8th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentDecember 17, 1914
Age at Enlistment31
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMarch 17, 1952
Age at Death68
Buried AtEdmonton Municipal Cemetery, Edmonton, Alberta
PlotSection ON, Block 0023, Plot 0003

Holland, Ernest John

Second Lieutenant Ernest John Holland enlisted in 1914 and served in France and Belgium with the 8th Battalion. In 1917 he received a commission in the British Army and he served with the Royal Field Artillery until the end of the war, returning to Canada in June 1919.

Ernest, sometimes known as ‘Jack’, was the son of Herbert Holland and Kate Mattocks. He was born on 27 November 1883 in Coventry, Warwickshire, England and he had at least five brothers and one sister: Herbert Edward, Arthur Robert, Charles Mattocks, Ethel Kate, William Frederick and Walter James. The Holland family immigrated to Canada in the spring of 1891, arriving in Halifax on 5 April on the SS Parisian. When the 1891 census was taken they were living in St. Paul in the district of Lisgar, Manitoba, where Herbert was farming. Sometime after that they moved to Rat Portage (now called Kenora), in northwestern Ontario. Kate died in 1896 and Herbert followed in 1897 and they are both buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery.

At the time of the 1901 census Ernest was living in Rat Portage with his oldest brother Herbert and working as a porter. He enlisted in Winnipeg on 17 December 1914, signing up with the 44th Battalion. His unit trained in Winnipeg over the winter and moved to Camp Sewell in the spring. Ernest was promoted to Corporal on 1 April 1915. The battalion wasn’t sent overseas until the fall of 1915 but Ernest was chosen to go in the 1st reinforcing draft. He embarked from Montreal on the SS Grampian on 1 June 1915, arriving in the UK about ten days later. He was transferred to the 32nd Reserve Battalion and after just a month in England he was drafted to the 8th Battalion and sent to France. He joined them in the field in late July and served with them for almost a year. In April 1916 he had a one-week leave in England and in June the 8th Battalion fought at the Battle of Mount Sorrel (2-13 June 1916).

At the end of June Ernest was attached to the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade headquarters as a draughtsman, and he served in that capacity for seven months. In February 1917 he was sent to England and transferred to the 18th Reserve Battalion, with the view of getting a temporary commission. He attended No. 4 Royal Field Artillery Officer Cadet School, which was in Brighton, East Sussex. On 20 September 1917 Ernest was discharged from the Canadian Expeditionary Force in order to transfer to the British Army. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Field Artillery the following day. He was awarded the 1914-1915 Star for his time with the 8th Battalion.

Ernest served with the Royal Field Artillery for the next year and a half. He returned to Canada in the summer of 1919, embarking from Liverpool on the SS Megantic and arriving at Quebec on 3 June, with his destination listed as Winnipeg. His brother Herbert Holland and nephew Charles Holland also enlisted and served overseas. Charles was underage when he signed up and he only made it to Great Britain.

By 1920 Ernest was living in Edmonton and working as a surveyor for the department of public works. When the 1921 census was taken he was lodging with a family on 115th Street, listed as a Civil Servant/Surveyor. By 1934 Ernest was married and he and his wife Hepzibah Mary raised two daughters, Ruth and Eunice. Ernest worked as a civil servant for thirty years, retiring around 1951. He passed away on 17 March 1952, at age 68. Hepzibah died in January 1964 and they are both buried in Edmonton Municipal Cemetery.

By Becky Johnson

Holland-Ernest-John-90 Holland-Ernest-John-91 Holland-Ernest-John-92

Grave marker photo courtesy of Alison Glass.

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