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Stanley Hollis VC.

24 Nov

Unbelievably, there was only one Victoria Cross awarded on D-Day June 6th 1944. It was won by Company Sergeant Major Stanley Hollis. He was born in Middlesbrough, Yorkshire where he grew up and attended school. In 1929 Stanley Hollis was apprenticed in a shipping Company to learn to be a navigation officer. During the course of this learning he went on a few voyages around the coast of West Africa. Unfortunately for Stanley He took ill and due to this illness he was forced to leave the merchant navy. Returning back to Middlesbrough area, where he had various jobs and later married and had a son and daughter. When, the dark clouds of war threatened Great Britain, Stanley Hollis Joined the local Territorial unit the 4th battalion of the Green Howards. When World War finally broke out he was mobilized and joined the 6th Battalion of the Green Howards. They were eventually sent out to France in 1940 as part of the British Expeditionary Force under Lord Gort. Somebody in high authority must have seen Stanley Hollis had what it takes, because he rose through the ranks very quickly and was a sergeant at the time of the evacuation at Dunkirk.
After Dunkirk, the Green Howards were strengthened and re-equipped and sent out to the Middle East and were part of the British 8th Army that fought and chased back the Afrika Corps from El Alamein to Tunis and the ultimate victory in the North Africa campaign Before the invasion of Sicily in 1943, Stanley Hollis was promoted to Company Sergeant Major. He was later wounded at the battle of Primosole Bridge and spent time in hospital recuperating this did not keep Stanley out of the war. On June 6th 1944 still a company sergeant major with the Green Howards he was in one of the first Assault crafts that hit Gold Beach in Normandy. After the initial resistance the regiment moved in land. The company commander asked Stanley Hollis to go with him to reconnoiter two German pill boxes which had been by-passed by the attacking force. Moving very quickly they rushed the two pillboxes with guns blazing taking all but five occupants as prisoner. They then dealt with the second pillbox taking twenty six prisoners along with clearing out an enemy occupied trench
The adrenalin must have been pumping hard into his veins, because later that day on the 6th June, he led an attack on an enemy position. The position contained a field gun and carefully camouflaged Spandau machine guns. After withdrawing under heavy fire, he learned that two of his men had been left behind. He told his Commanding Officer a Major Lofthouse. Sir, I took them in and I will try to get them out. Taking a grenade from one of his men, Hollis carefully observed the enemy’s pattern of behavior and threw the grenade at the most opportune moment that came. Unfortunately, he had forgotten to prime the grenade, but the enemy did not know this and kept their heads down waiting for it to explode. By the time they realized their mistake Hollis was on top of them and had shot them all. In September 1944 while still in France he was wounded in the leg and was evacuated to England. On October 10th 1944 he was decorated with the Victoria Cross by King George V1
After the war, when back in civilian life he had various jobs he even went back in the Merchant Navy for five years until1955.. Gradually settling down Stanley became a publican and ran the Albion public house in North Ormesby and later became the tenant of the Holywell View public house at Liverton Mines near Loftus for many years. Stanley Hollis a much loved family man died on 8 February 1972 aged 59 and was buried in Acklam Cemetery Middlesbrough. Stanley Hollis’s Victoria Cross now has pride of place in the Green Howards Regimental Museum in Richmond Yorkshire. Obviously you the reader must agree with me, in thinking and saying that indeed Stanley Hollis VC. was a very brave man

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