Nominations are open for the 2017 Amplifon Awards for Brave Britons.

Who was Charles Holland?

Find out who Charles Holland was and his life achievements

Charles Holland was decorated by both the British and the Americans for his bravery behind enemy lines during the Second World War. He was also the man behind Amplifon.

During the Second World War, often working behind enemy lines, Captain Holland served with the Special Operations Executive between 1943 and 1945.  He courageously took part in espionage, sabotage and reconnaissance in occupied Europe and worked alongside local resistance groups.

Brought up in Argentina, Charles spoke fluent Italian and Spanish as well as English. He studied electrical engineering with GEC. After he enlisted in the Signals Corps in 1940 it came as no surprise he was recruited to the special forces aged only 22.

He was later commissioned into the Royal Corps of Signals and was attached to an elite American-Canadian unit, known as the Devil’s Brigade, under the command of the US 5th Army.

Their adventures were dramatised in a 1968 film ‘The Devil’s Brigade’ which starred William Holden and Cliff Robertson.

In 1943 Charles was awarded the MBE for his service in Greece.

But it was in 1944, after being promoted to Acting Major, he carried out his greatest acts of bravery when he united various groups of Partisans into a disciplined force and carried out lots of attacks on the enemy.

Under his leadership the Partisans killed 200 enemy and wounded or captured another 300 as well as accounting for more than 70 enemy vehicles.

In 1945 Major Holland was awarded the Military Cross – the third highest British decoration for bravery.

He ended the war as Allied Communications Officer of Civil Posts and Telecommunications North Italy.

In 1948 he was awarded the Bronze Star by the United States Government.


Back in civvy street

Many people suffered long-term hearing problems as a result of the Second World War so Charles decided to do something about it.

He established Amplifon in Milan in 1950 and specialised in distributing and fitting hearing aids throughout the region. The business moved across the whole of Italy and later Europe.

As Amplifon grew so too did Charles’s influence in the industry. In 1971 he founded the Centre for Research and Studies – a non-profit independent organisation for the dissemination of knowledge in the fields of audiology and otology.

The CSR focuses on scientific research, supporting the professional development of doctors and audiologists and organising training courses and conferences in conjunction with Italian and foreign universities.

Charles died in 2001 but is survived by his wife, Anna Maria Holland, who is on the board at Amplifon as honorary chairperson. His daughter, Susan Carol Holland, is the chairperson of Amplifon.

How to enter your hero

Simply click on any of the nominate now buttons and identify the category you believe your hero should win. This will create an automated email where you will need to complete the details and tell us in no more than 250 words why you believe they should win the award. All those who nominate a hero will also be entered into a free prize draw for a chance to win a £250 M&S gift card.

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