We must not forget the extraordinary heroism of Yorkshireman Stanley Hollis at the D-Day landings - Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Sue Cuthbert, Newton on Rawcliffe.

There has been a lot of interesting coverage in the media about the D-Day landings in Normandy 80 years ago. Therefore, I am surprised that there has been no mention of an extremely courageous Yorkshire man who was the only soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross on that day.

Company Sergeant Major Stanley Hollis of the 6th Battalion Green Howards, like myself, was born in Middlesbrough when it was still Yorkshire.

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He was sent to France as a dispatch rider as part of the British Expeditionary Force in 1940 and was wounded for the first of five times and then evacuated from Dunkirk.

Members of the Green Howards association parading to the Green Howards' memorial in Crepon in 2004. PIC: Chris LawtonMembers of the Green Howards association parading to the Green Howards' memorial in Crepon in 2004. PIC: Chris Lawton
Members of the Green Howards association parading to the Green Howards' memorial in Crepon in 2004. PIC: Chris Lawton

He later fought in the Western desert with the famed Eighth Army, where he took out, single handed, a German Tiger tank by slapping a sticky bomb to it.

He was involved with the invasion of Sicily in 1943 and was recommended for, but did not receive the Distinguished Conduct Medal.

But it was his actions at Gold beach, the Mont Fleury battery and Crepon on D-Day when he really came into his own.

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CSM Hollis and the battle hardened Green Howards were hand picked by Monty to be one of the first assault battalions to land on the Normandy sands.

As his company was moving inland from the beaches, Hollis saw two hidden German pill boxes which had been bypassed. He didn't hesitate for a minute and rushed towards the first pill box, poked his Sten gun through the slit, climbed on top of the box, then threw a grenade inside, killing some of the occupants and taking others prisoner.

He then spotted and attacked a second strong point, taking 25 prisoners.

Hearing that two of his men had been left behind in a house, he told his commanding officer, "I took them in, I'll try to get them out". In an extraordinary act of bravery, Hollis ran out into the open, blazing away with his Bren gun, with bullets firing all around him, some lodging in his feet. This was reality, not a war film. The men who were left behind when Stan Hollis' went back to rescue them, were indeed saved by his brave action.

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In September 1944, he was awarded the VC by King George VI and returned to Middlesbrough, got a job as a lorry driver and married Alice Clixby.

I know that he was very modest about his actions, but his family are rightly very proud of Stan Hollis, as am I.

He died in 1972, but there is a very fitting memorial statue of him near the Cenotaph in Middlesbrough. I recommend that people go and see it and remember a real hero.

He is regarded by military experts as one of the three finest Victoria Cross winners of all time.

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