Michel Hollard

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Michel Hollard
World War II portrait of Michel Hollard
World War II portrait
Born (1898-06-10)June 10, 1898
Épinay-sur-Seine, Eure, France
Died July 16, 1993(1993-07-16) (aged 95)
Ganges, Hérault, France
Resting place
Gorniès, Hérault, France
43°53′29.13″N 3°37′32.78″E / 43.8914250°N 3.6257722°E / 43.8914250; 3.6257722
Nationality  France
Education Engineer
Occupation French wartime resister
Organization Réseau AGIR, French Resistance
Known for Investigation of the V-1 flying bomb facilities in Northern France during World War II
Spouse(s) Yvonne Gounelle
Children Francine, Florian ( former conductor of the Orchestre symphonique de la région Centre) and Vincent
Parents Auguste Hollard
Pauline Monod

Michel Hollard is a French wartime resister and engineer who founded[1] the espionage group Réseau AGIR during World War II.

His contribution was recognised by the British with the award of the Distinguished Service Order having "reconnoitered a number of heavily guarded V1 sites and reported on them". Hollard's efforts included 49 trips smuggling reports to a British attache in Switzerland.


Initially serving in World War I, Hollard subsequently became an engineer[2] and was employed by Maison Gazogène Autobloc, a manufacturer of wood gas generators. Hollard founded the AGIR in 1941.

Following his capture in February 1944, he was tortured and imprisoned first at Fresnes Prison and in June 1944 as a forced laborer at the main Neuengamme concentration camp (prisoner "F 33,948").[3] In 1945, as a result of Swedish intervention Hollard had been one of a group of prisoners transferred to the ship Magdalena after being evacuated on April 20 via the prison ship Thielbek. The Thielbek was sunk on May 3 by a Royal Air Force attack on German shipping.

V-1-site no. 685, Val Ygot near Ardouval (Seine-Maritime, France); V-1 on a reconstructed ramp torso.

Post-war, Hollard "was given the rank of Colonel"[1][4] and, despite the V-1's destruction of over 80,000 English houses through September 1944, Sir Brian Horrocks called him "the man who literally saved London".[5]

A highspeed train that operates Eurostar's high-speed rail service between Britain, France and Belgium via the Channel Tunnel was named after him.[6]


  1. ^ a b "Michel Hollard: Heros de la Resistance" (in French). Retrieved 2010-02-09. 
  2. ^ "What happened to Michael Hollard, the man who saved London". TheAnswerBank.co.uk. 18 June 2001. Retrieved 2010-03-29. 
  3. ^ Florian Hollard (2005), Michel Hollard: le Français qui a sauvé Londres (in French), Le cherche midi, p. 214, 
  4. ^ "Profile: WWII spy Michel Hollard". BBC.co.uk. 27 April 2004. Retrieved 2010-03-29. 
  5. ^ Lee, Bruce (2001). Marching orders: the untold story of World War II (Google Books). p. 226. Retrieved 2010-02-11. 
  6. ^ "Eurostar tribute to WWII hero". BBC News. 27 April 2004. Retrieved 8 July 2011. 

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