United Kingdom / Biography
Stanley Hollis was the only one soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross medal on 6 June 1944.
Stanley Hollis was born on 21 September 192 in Middlesbrough, England. He was 31 when he landed on Gold Beach on 6 June 1944.
He enlisted in the 4th Battalion, Green Howards in 1939. At the outbreak of the conflict, he joined the 6th Battalion of the same unit. He participated in the French campaign of 1940 within the British Expeditionary Force, then in North Africa at El Alamein and Tunis, in the ranks of the 8th Army, and finally in Italy where he received his first injury.
On 6 June 1944, he found the Green Howards and arrived with them on Gold Beach in Normandy.
Behind the small village La Rivière, the Mont-Fleury battery and its four 122 mm guns were neutralised by the Allied bombardments before even being able to fire a single cannon shot. The 6th Green Howards were tasked with capturing it.
Sergeant Hollis led the assault, capturing or killing the occupants. A little later, in Crépon, Hollis’ company encountered strong German resistance within the village. Hollis managed to free two of his comrades who were held prisoner in a house under enemy fire.
After the Battle of Normandy, Stanley Hollis was wounded again in September 1944. Hit in the leg, he had to be evacuated to England. On October 10, barely recovered from his injury, he was invited to Buckingham Palace. Here he was decorated by King George VI in person with the Victoria Cross, the most prestigious military medal of the British army, for his multiple feats of arms on D-Day at Mont-Fleury and Crépon.
Hollis was the only one recipient of the Victoria Cross for all the fire actions carried out in Normandy on 6 June 1944.
Demobilised in 1945, Stanley worked for a few years in a steel mill. Subsequently, he was hired in a Darlington garage and then as a naval engineer, before becoming the owner of his own pub in the North Ormesby neighbourhood of Middlesbrough, aptly named The Green Howard. In 1970 he bought the pub Hollywell View in Loftus. Hollis died two years later, on 8 February 1972. He is buried in Middlesbrough’s Acklam Cemetery.
In the village of Crépon, a bronze statue, representing a tommy taking a moment of rest, was erected in 1996 to pay tribute to the men of the Green Howards. On its base, a plaque pays a special tribute to Sergeant Hollis.