Stanley Hollis file photo [12020]

Stanley Hollis

Given NameStanley
Born21 Sep 1912
Died8 Feb 1972
CountryUnited Kingdom


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.

ww2dbaseFurther additions by C. Peter Chen

ww2dbaseStanley Hollis was born to Edith and Alfred Hollis in Loftus, North Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom, living there until 1926 when the family moved to the village of Robin Hood's Bay, North Yorkshire. In 1929, he became an apprentice to a shipping company in nearby Whitby, making several voyages to West Africa before becoming ill and ending his apprenticeship. After recovery, he became a truck driver in North Ormesby, Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire and married Alice Clixby with whom he would have a son and a daughter. In 1939, he enlisted in the 4th Battalion of the Green Howards (Alexandra, Princess of Wales's Own Yorkshire Regiment), which was mobilized by the British Army upon the start of the European War. As a member of the 6th Battalion in the same regiment, he was sent to France, serving as a dispatch rider. During the evacuation of Dunkirk, France, he was promoted from the rank of lance corporal to sergeant. His next assignment took him to North Africa, where he fought as a member of the British 8th Army from El Alamein, Egypt to Tunis, Tunisia, attaining the rank of company sergeant major shortly before the Allied invasion of Sicily, Italy. He was wounded by Primosole Bridge in Sicily. In Jun 1944, he participated in the invasion of Normandy, France, with details already covered by Alan Chanter in the main article above. The medal citation stated:

On 6 June 1944 in Normandy, France, Company Sergeant-Major Hollis went with his company commander to investigate two German pill-boxes which had been by-passed as the company moved inland from the beaches. He rushed forward to the first pill-box, taking all but five of the occupants prisoner and then dealt with the second, taking 26 prisoners. Throughout the day, wherever the fighting was heaviest he appeared, displaying the utmost gallantry. It was through his heroism and resource that the company's objectives were gained and casualties were not heavier. He saved the lives of many of his men.

ww2dbaseHollis was once again wounded in Sep 1944 and was evacuated to England. He received the Victoria Cross medal from King George VI on 10 Oct 1944. After the war, he spent several years as a sandblaster at a local steel factory, then became a partner in a car repair business in Darlington, Durham, England. Between 1950 and 1955, he became a maritime engineer. Between 1955 and 1970, he ran the pub The Green Howard in North Ormesby. He passed away at Liverton Mines, North Yorkshire. He now rests at the Acklam Cemetery in Middlesbrough.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia

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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More on Stanley Hollis
Event(s) Participated:
» Invasion of France and the Low Countries
» Invasion of Sicily and Italy's Surrender
» Normandy Campaign, Phase 1

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