Service Number: 352
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Sergeant
Last Unit: 31st Infantry Battalion
Born: Nottinghamshire, England, date not yet discovered
Home Town: Toowoomba, Toowoomba, Queensland
Schooling: Nether Street School, Beeston, Nottinghamshire.
Occupation: Farm labourer/Dairy farmer
Died: Killed in Action, France, 14 March 1917, age not yet discovered
Cemetery: Beaulencourt British Cemetery, Ligny-Thilloy
Grave I. G. 13. Personal Inscription THY WILL BE DONE, Beaulencourt British Cemetery, Ligny-Thilloy, Picardie, France
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Grandchester Roll of Honour, Rosewood Shire Council Roll of Honor
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World War 1 Service

9 Nov 1915: Involvement Sergeant, 352, 31st Infantry Battalion, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '16' embarkation_place: Melbourne embarkation_ship: HMAT Wandilla embarkation_ship_number: A62 public_note: ''
9 Nov 1915: Embarked Sergeant, 352, 31st Infantry Battalion, HMAT Wandilla, Melbourne
14 Mar 1917: Involvement 352, 31st Infantry Battalion, --- :awm_ww1_roll_of_honour_import: awm_service_number: 352 awm_unit: 31st Australian Infantry Battalion awm_rank: Company Sergeant Major awm_died_date: 1917-03-14
Date unknown: Involvement AIF WW1, Company Sergeant Major, 352, 31st Infantry Battalion

Ernest Holland Story

Sgt (CSM): Ernest Holland Reg # 352 31st Bn born 2-07-1893 Nottingham England Ploughman wife Gertie Holland (KiF 14-03-1917) Cemetery: Beaulencourt British Cemetery 560.

Showing 1 of 1 story

Biography contributed by Geoffrey Gillon

He was the son of Alfred and Janet Holland and the brother of Ethel and Ewen Holland of 'Dunoon Villas', 31 Flethcher Road, Beeston, Nottingham. Ernest  was educated at the Nether Street School in Beeston and, at the age of thirteen, he left to work for the Topham Brothers. Ernest served with the South Nottinghamshire Hussars before, at the age of 18, emigrating to Australia to find work as a farm labourer and later as a trainee dairy farmer.

He married Margaret [Gertie] Tighe on 18th September 1915 at St Lukes Cathedral Brisbane, Australia. They lived at Healy Street, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia.

He joined the Australian Infantry Force on 15/7/1915, and was posted to the 31st Battalion. This Battalion was raised as part of the 8th Brigade at Enogerra, on the outskirts of Brisbane, in August 1915. Some of the battalion's companies, however, were raised at Broadmeadows Camp in Victoria. In early October these two elements were united at Broadmeadows, and the battalion sailed from Melbourne the following month. Ernest was in the contingent which sailed aboard HMAT Kyarra. Initially, the 31st Battalion was sent to Egypt where it was involved in the defence of the Suez Canal against the Turks. The 8th Brigade joined the newly raised 5th Australian Division in Egypt, and proceeded to France in June 1916. Ernest  was promoted to sergeant major. The 31st Battalion fought its first major battle at Fromelles on 19th July 1916, having entered the front line trenches only 3 days previously. The attack was a disastrous introduction to battle for the 31st Battalion; 572 Officers and men became casualties, over half of its strength. It was during this battle that Company Sergeant Major Holland was himself one of the wounded. Although the battalion spent periods in the front line, it played no major offensive role for the rest of the year. It was during this period that Ernest was wounded again. As a result, he spent some time in England on sick leave, where he had a chance to visit friends and family. At Christmas 1916, he was to visit his parents for the last time, returning to rejoin his unit in early 1917, as it prepared for the next big attack. On March the 13th the British and the Australians advanced towards the town of Bapaume, where the Germans had strengthened their line, bringing in a crack regiment of Prussian Guards. From the west and south-west approaches to the town, Australian and British patrols came forward with ladders, bombs and machine guns. They scrambled over the unbroken enemy wire and, in a short action, scattered the Prussian Guards. As one enemy company fled, it was caught in continuous machine gun fire and annihilated. After bitter fighting the Australian infantry finally captured Bapaume. This was to be Company Sergeant Major Holland’s last action as he was killed on the 14th.


Wedding announcement published in the Nottingham Evening Post dated 6th November 1915 :-

“HOLLAND – TIGHE. – On the 18th September, 1915, at St. Luke's Cathedral, Brisbane, Australia, Sergeant Ernest Holland, 31st Batt., 8th Brigade, Australian Forces, eldest son of Alfred and Janet Holland, of 31, Fletcher-road, Beeston, and grandson of Alexander McLeod, late of Nottingham and Beeston to Margaret Tighe, second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. Tighe, of Grandchester, Queensland.”


Nottingham Post obituary (abridged), 2 April 1917: 'Holland. Our brother Company Sergeant Major Ernest Holland, Australian Imperial Forces. Shot by sniper, March 14th 1917.'

Ernest  is remembered on:-

The  Beeston Lads' Club and 17th Nottingham Company Boys' Brigade War Memorial located at the Beeston Lads' Club, Station Road, Beeston, Nottingham. No photo currently available.

Beeston - St John the Baptist Church War Memorial