|Born||21 Sep 1912|
|Died||8 Feb 1972|
Contributor: Alan Chanter
ww2dbaseThere were many thousands of heroes on D-Day, brave but frightened young men who stormed ashore on the beaches of Normandy on Tuesday the 6th of June 1944 to liberate Europe from under the jackboot of Nazi domination.
ww2dbaseAs dawn broke on 6 Jun 1944, British troops of the 6th Battalion of the Green Howards (Alexandra, Princess of Wales's Own Yorkshire Regiment) was placed on Gold Beach at Normandy, France. While attempting to eliminate a 150-millimeter gun at Mont Fleur, which was situated behind a house with a distinctive circular drive in whose grounds the Germans had placed a number of machine gun positions, Company Sergeant Major Stan Hollis of D company, armed only with a Sten gun, without waiting for orders, charged a pillbox in the rear of the house, drawing the enemy machine gun fire onto him. Reaching the bunker unharmed he poured a ferocious fire though the gun slit following up with a grenade for good measure. The machine gun fire ceased abruptly allowing CSM Hollis to burst into the strongpoint. Here he found two dead German soldiers and a number of others dazed or wounded. Stan Hollis then advanced along a communication trench to a second pill box where, the 20 or 30 German defenders, having seen the fate of their colleagues, decided wisely to surrender without further resistance. At the same time another 40 prisoners, including a German lieutenant colonel, were being captured by C company from a command complex that had not been included on the Battalion’s maps.
ww2dbaseThe Battalion next pushed on in the direction of Villiers-le-Sec. CSM Hollis had by now taken over personal command of a platoon that had lost both its officer and its sergeant in the fighting. Suddenly the platoon ran into a German field gun supported by more machine guns located in an orchard. After the platoon had taken several casualties in an attempt to outflank this position, CSM Hollis armed with a PIAT anti-tank launcher with two other men with Bren guns stealthily crept forward through a rhubarb patch to get within 100 yards of the enemy positions. Undetected so far, Hollis fired the PIAT but the round fell short of its intended target. This resulted in a return shot by the field gun that passed closely overhead to explode on a farmhouse behind. Hollis now decided that his position was rather too exposed and ordered his companions to follow him as he crawled back, only to realise when he reached a place of comparative safety that he was now alone. Grabbing a Bren gun he again returned to the orchard where he again blazed away at the German positions whilst his two wounded companions made their escape.
ww2dbaseBy nightfall, the Green Howards, were well clear of the beaches and had advanced to within a mile of St Leger on the Caen-Bayeux road. For his gallantry in action on this first day of the invasion, Stan Hollis was ultimately to be awarded the Victoria Cross medal, Britain’s highest award for gallantry, and the only such medal to be awarded as a result of the fighting on D-Day.
Last Major Revision: Feb 2011
Stanley Hollis Timeline
|21 Sep 1912||Stanley Hollis was born in Loftus, North Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom.|
|10 Oct 1944||Stanley Hollis received the Victoria Cross medal from King George VI.|
|8 Feb 1972||Stanley Hollis passed away at Liverton Mines, North Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom.|
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945