War hero’s life remembered

Stan Hollis received a Victoria Cross for his actions during D-Day
Stan Hollis received a Victoria Cross for his actions during D-Day

THE LIFE of a Victoria Cross hero who lived in Robin Hood’s Bay and was an apprentice in a Whitby shipping company was honoured at the weekend with a memorial service and a plaque to mark the centenary of his birth.

He was Stanley Elton Hollis, known generally as Stan, and his bravery gained him the only Victoria Cross to be awarded on D-Day, June 1944 in the assault on the French beaches.

Stan was then a company sergeant-major in the Green Howards. In the fierce fighting on the beaches, Stan and his men were engaged in clearing German pillboxes that had been bypassed in the initial assault.

When they finished and moved on he realised that two of his men had been left behind. Telling his senior officer: “I took them in, I’ll try to get them out,” he threw a grenade into a German trench that the enemy were still firing from.

It failed to explode so he went in close enough to shoot the enemy soldiers.

Stan had already had a tough war including serving in the Western desert but his luck held out and he survived through to the end.

After the war he did a variety of jobs but finished as the landlord of the Holywell View pub in Liverton Mines.

As a boy in 1926 his parents kept a fish and chip shop in Robin Hood’s Bay and he worked there with them for three years until in 1929 he went to sea to learn to be a navigation officer in the merchant navy.

He made regular voyages to West Africa but caught blackwater fever which ended his merchant navy career.

His birth in September 1912 was this weekend celebrated with a service of remembrance in Loftus and the unveiling of a plaque in the town hall.

The service was attended by members of his family including his son and daughter, Whitby mayor John Freeman and East Cleveland MP Tom Blenkinsop.