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
Parent(s) Auguste Hollard
Pauline Monod
Website www.michel-hollard.com

Michel Hollard was a member of the French wartime resistance and engineer, who founded[1] the espionage group Réseau AGIR during World War II.

His contribution was recognised by the British by the award of the Distinguished Service Order for having "reconnoitered a number of heavily guarded V-1 sites and reported on them". Hollard's efforts included 49 trips smuggling reports to a British attaché 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 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 was one of a group of prisoners transferred to the ship Magdalena after being evacuated on April 20 on 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); a V-1 on a reconstructed ramp torso.

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

A high-speed 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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