The D Day Victoria Cross.

I was away when it was D Day so didn’t get the chance to post anything but when I got back I found this amazing story on the Imperial War Museum web site.

 

THE D-DAY VICTORIA CROSS
Stan Hollis performed two acts of heroism that won him the only Victoria Cross awarded on D-Day. 

Hollis was Company Sergeant Major of one of the first battalions to reach Gold Beach on D-Day. He was no stranger to combat. By 1944, he’d fought at Dunkirk, El Alamein and the Battle for Primasole Bridge.

Hollis was thirty-one years old on D-Day. He was in charge of three machine gun and three mortar teams. He was one of the most experienced men in his unit, and many younger soldiers looked up to him.

It was at a house that overlooked the beach where Hollis performed the first of two heroic acts to win him the Victoria Cross.

When the lead platoons passed the house, they came under fire from a machine gun hidden in a pillbox. In response, Hollis charged around thirty yards over open ground, whilst under fire, stuck his sten gun into the pillbox slit and emptied the magazine.

Hollis then lay on top of the pillbox and dropped a grenade inside. He jumped down and entered, and took the surviving occupants prisoner. He then saw a slit trench leading away to a second pillbox in the garden of the house.

He advanced down the trench alone, captured the fortification and all those in it. In all, he captured 30 Germans single-handed.

Commandos of HQ 4th Special Service Brigade, coming ashore from LCI(S) landing craft on Nan Red beach, Juno area, at St Aubin-sur-Mer, 6 June 1944.

Later that day, at around 11am, Hollis performed the second act of heroism which contributed to the D-Day Victoria Cross.

He spotted a German field gun hidden in a hedge, and decided to try and destroy it. Accompanied by two machine-gunners, he crawled through a rhubarb patch to get close enough to the artillery piece.

However, he missed and the gun turned and fired on them. Miraculously, it fired high over their heads. Hollis shouted to the men with him to get back to a farm building they could use for cover.

Unfortunately, the men either hadn’t heard him or were too afraid to run. He felt that it was his responsibility the men were in trouble, and sought to get them to safety.

Hollis took a Bren gun and advanced into the open, firing from the hip in plain sight to attract the attention of the enemy field gun team. His comrades ran back from the rhubarb patch to cover. Astoundingly, even though he was standing in sight of the enemy, Hollis was not hit.

The Victoria Cross recognises acts of extreme bravery carried out under direct enemy fire. Stan Hollis was the only serviceman to be awarded the Victoria Cross on D-Day for his gallantry during the allied invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944.

Discover more stories in our D-Day interactive.

About The Diary of a Country Bumpkin

I am a retired actor, although to be honest I only retired because I wasn't getting any work and the option of becoming an unemployed actor/waiter at my age was ludicrous, especially as my waiting skills are non-existent. Having said I’m retired, I don’t think there really is such a thing as a retired actor for I am still available for work, I just don’t have an agent or any connections with regards to obtaining any worthwhile work. I have over the years done student films when there is nothing else available, always low paid (if at all) the only incentive was always the promised copy of the finished film for your show reel which nine times out of ten always failed to materialise. I spent many years looking after my aged mother who had dementia, hence the lack of acting work but shortly after her death I was lucky enough to run into an ex-girlfriend of many years ago and our romance blossomed once again, resulting in us getting married in 2013. My move to the countryside inspired me to write The Diary of a Country Bumpkin which tells of my continuing dilemmas in dealing with the rigors of the countryside from the unexpectedly large number of pollens, fungal moulds and hay products waiting to attack the unsuspecting townie. I enjoy writing, see my play Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori on The Wireless Theatre Company, The Plays Wot I Wrote and The Battle of Barking Creek both available on Amazon.co.uk and am very fond of classic cars so my ideal occupation would be acting in a film I had written set in the 1930s/40s, we live in hopes. I am delighted to say that since venturing to the countryside where space is not quite the premium it is in town, I have due to the availability of two double garages acquired more classic cars to form a small collection the pride of which are a 1947 Bentley Mk VI and a 2000 Bentley Arnage. My various blogs and websites are continually evolving and I’m sure that by following the appropriate links you will find something which will edify or amuse.
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12 Responses to The D Day Victoria Cross.

  1. What an incredible story. Thank you for sharing it.

  2. SueW says:

    What an incredibly brave young man!

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