Cedric S. Holland (affectionately known as "Hookey") joined HMS BRITANNIA as a Cadet in 1905 and went on to serve in the Royal Navy from 1906 until his retirement in 1946. His early career saw him serving as Midshipman on the HMS SUFFOLK, the HMS IRRESISTIBLE and the HMS BULWARK (1906-1909). He was promoted to Lieutenant on the 31st August 1911, going on to serve on the HMS SHANNON with the Grand Fleet at Scapa Flow, August-November 1914. He also served as Squadron Wireless Officer with HMS REVENGE during the Turko-Greek conflict (1920). From July 1928-August 1929, Holland commanded the HMS KENT in China, SE Asia and Japan. During this time he attended the funeral of Dr Sun Yat Sen (31st May 1929) and the annual Naval Regatta at Wei-Hai-Wei. As Captain of the HMS KEMPENFELT (1934-1936) he served in the Mediterranean. He was Naval Attaché for France, Holland, Belgium, Spain and Portugal from January 1938 to April 1940 and was also Head of the Naval Mission to the French Admiralty from the outbreak of war until April 1940. Holland commanded the aircraft carrier HMS ARK ROYAL from May 1940 to May 1941 and it was during this time that he undertook the role for which he will be most remembered, that of chief negotiator with the French during the Mers el Kebir affair (July 1940). From May 1941 to January 1942 he held the post of Chief of Staff to Lord Gort at Gibraltar and was appointed Director of Naval Communications at Admiralty from January 1942 until November 1943, during which time he was promoted to Rear Admiral (6th February 1942). Holland served as Principal Administrative Officer for the Navy in South-East Asia from November 1943 to September 1945 - the first appointment of this kind ever made. He received promotion to Vice-Admiral on the 1st June 1945 and was actively involved in planning and executing the re-occupation of Singapore in September 1945. Vice-Admiral Holland retired from active service in 1946.
The Cedric S. HOLLAND collection was gifted to the museum by his daughter-in-law, Mrs Portia Holland in June 1992. The collection includes his Naval certificates of service (1906-1933) ; Midshipman's logs - HMS SUFFOLK/HMS IRRESISTIBLE (1906-1908) and HMS BULWARK (1908-1909) ; private journals from 1914 (HMS SHANNON), 1928/29 (HMS KENT) and 1935/36 (HMS KEMPENFELT). Also contained within the collection are documents relating to the MERS EL KEBIR affair of 1940, including several photographs of the British bombardment of the French Fleet. Holland, who was opposed to the use of force against the French, was sent in as chief negotiator and these documents contain valuable information relating to the negotiations, the controversy surrounding the British action and the attitude of the French navy. The collection also houses material relating to his time as naval representative of the Supreme Allied Commander, SE Asia during the Japanese surrender in September 1945. There is also a selection of photographs, press cuttings, letters, lecture notes and miscellaneous ephemera that document his Naval career.