Hollis, Stanley Elton

Date of birth:
September 21st, 1912 (Middlesbrough, Yorkshire, Great Britain)
Date of death:
February 8th, 1972 (Middlesbrough, Yorkshire, Great Britain)
Service number:
British (1801-present, Kingdom)


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Second World War (1939-1945)
Warrent Officer 2nd Class
6th Battalion, The Green Howards
Awarded on:
August 17th, 1944
Awarded for:
Operation Overlord
"In Normandy, France, on 6th June 1944, during the assault on the beaches and the Mont Fleury battery, C.S.M. Hollisís Company Commander noticed that two of the pillboxes had been by-passed and went with CSM Hollis to see that they were clear.
When they were 20 yards from the pillbox, a machine-gun opened fire from the slit and CSM Hollis instantly rushed straight at the pillbox, firing his Sten gun. He jumped on top of the pillbox, recharged his magazine, threw a grenade in through the door and fired his Sten gun into it killing two Germans and making the remainder prisoner.
He then cleared several Germans from a neighbouring trench. By his action he undoubtedly saved his Company from being fired on heavily from the rear and enabled them to open the main beach exit.
Later the same day in the village of Crepon, the Company encountered a field gun and crew armed with Spandaus at 100 yards range. CSM Hollis was put in command of a party to cover an attack on the gun, but the movement was held up.
Seeing this, CSM Hollis pushed right forward to engage the gun with a PIAT from a house at 50 yards range. He was observed by a sniper who fired and grazed his right cheek and at the same moment the gun swung round and fired at point blank range into the house. To avoid the falling masonry CSM Hollis moved his party to an alternative position. Two of the enemy gun crew had by this time been killed and the gun was destroyed shortly afterwards.
He later found that two of his men had stayed behind in the house and immediately volunteered to get them out. In full view of the enemy who were continually firing at him, he went forward alone using a Bren gun to distract their attention from the other men. Under cover of his diversion, the two men were able to get back.
Wherever the fighting was heaviest CSM Hollis appeared and, in the course of a magnificent dayís work, he displayed the utmost gallantry and on two separate occasions his courage and initiative prevented the enemy from holdng up the advance at critical stages.
It was largely through his heroism and resource that the Companyís objectives were gained and casualties were not heavier and by his own bravery he saved the lives of many of his men. "
Company Sergeant-Major Hollis was the only person to be awarded the Victoria Cross during the Normandy landings.
Company Sergeant-Major Hollis' Victoria Cross is publicly displayed at the Green Howards Museum, Richmond, Yorkshire, Great Britain.
Stanley Elton Hollis is buried at the Acklam Cemetery, Middlesbrough, Great Britain.

Victoria Cross (VC)