Stanley Hollis won the only Victoria Cross awarded on D-Day -June 6th 1944. Stanley Hollis, VC, was a Sergeant-Major in the Green Howards’ when he stormed Gold Beach at Normandy.


The landings at Gold Beach had been relatively easy in terms of casualties lost. However, the Germans did have defensive positions on the beach and behind it and these posed a potential problem for the advancing British troops ordered to take the beach.

When Hollis and his men landed, they sprinted to the top of the beach where they were pinned down by machine gun fire. Hollis saw the pill box from which the machine gun fire came. He rushed the position and threw a grenade into the pill box killing the two Germans operating the machine gun. He also captured between 18 to 20 German soldiers who were around the position of the machine gun post.

Later on the same day at Crepon, despite being wounded in the face, Hollis and some other men attacked a German field gun that was holding up their advance. The field gun destroyed the building being used by Hollis as shelter. He withdrew from the position but two of the men who had been with him were trapped there. Hollis returned to the destroyed house and guided the two men out. Prior to his rescue mission, Hollis had told his company commander:

“I took them in. I will try to get them out.”

For the bravery that he displayed that day, Hollis was awarded the Victoria Cross.

Stanley Hollis died in 1972 aged 59.

“The courage shown by Sergeant Major Hollis was perfectly in character. He was a very brave man.”Major George ‘Bolo’ Young, Green Howards’