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British Industrial History

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John Philip Holland

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1899. The Holland Submarine Torpedo Boat.

John Philip Holland (1840-1914) was an Irish engineer who developed the first submarine to be formally commissioned by the U.S. Navy, and the first Royal Navy submarine, the Holland 1.

He is widely regarded as the father of the modern submarine for his designs.

1841 February 24/29th. Born in Liscannor, County Clare, Ireland

1873 Arrived in the USA

1887 January 17th. Married in Brooklyn to Margaret Teresa Foley

1914 August 12th. Died in Newark, New Jersey, USA

1914 Obituary [1]

John Philip Holland, the inventor of the submarine, who died Newark, N.J., recently, was born at Liscanor, county Clare.

Educated by the Christian Brothers at Limerick, he became a school teacher, and remained an Irish schoolmaster for fitteen years. It was while a teacher in Cork that he foresaw that the future warships were to be armoured, and he gave much thought to how best to attack them. He drew plans for a boat to go beneath the water and combat ironclads from below. When he tried to got money to build such boat he was considered a fanatic.

The first encouragement he received for his invention came to him in Paterson, America, from the son of Captain John Whelan, a hero of the Civil War. This son Captain Whelan’s was Father Isaac P. Whelan, now Monsignor Whelan, rector of the Cathedral, Newark.

The Japanese Government was the first give Mr. Holland any real encouragement. They ordered two of his boats, which were used afterwards in the Japan-Russian war.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Derry Journal - Wednesday 14 October 1914