Plans for an £80,000 memorial in Middlesbrough to Stan Hollis, the only man to win a VC on D-Day

The Northern Echo: VC memorial bid: Stan Hollis VC memorial bid: Stan Hollis

PLANS have been unveiled for an £80,000 memorial to the only man to be awarded the Victoria Cross on D-Day.

Stan Hollis, born in Archibald Street, Middlesbrough, was recommended twice for his actions on June 6, 1944 - which may have altered the entire battle.

Campaigner Brian Bage has gone public with plans to build the memorial after establishing a campaign group and winning the support of Middlesbrough mayor Ray Mallon.

Stan Hollis, a Sergeant Major and former steelworker and lorry-driver, was 31 on D-Day and had already fought at Dunkirk, el Alamein and in the Sicily landings. He had previously been captured by the Germans but escaped.

The Green Howard soldier, who killed 100 enemy in the war, had waded from the sea with his men on to Gold Beach under mortar fire. The men suddenly came under machine-gun fire from a camouflaged pill box.

Incredibly, Stan Hollis leapt to his feet and, ignoring the bullets and charged the pill box, ending up shoving the barrel of his sten gun through the slit and firing before climbing on to the roof and dropping in a grenade.

He then stormed another pill box alone, but this time the Germans poured out and surrendered. His action probably changed the entire course of the crucial battle.

Just three hours later his company was advancing but came under fire from Germans in an orchard.

Eight of Hollis’s British comrades were killed and two others pinned down.

Hollis, dubbed ‘the man they couldn’t kill,’ by comrades, charged the enemy, again on his own, firing at will, until the two British soldiers could escape and his company could advance.

Brian Bage, a retired business executive of Guisborough, met the VC holder many times when he worked at Lloyds Bank in the 1960s when Stan Hollis, who also had strong connections with Loftus, was an unassuming pub landlord.

Mr Bage explained the idea is to have up to six 5ft stone panels inscribed with the Green Howard legend’s exploits near the Dorman Museum on Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough. A permanent exhibition about the Second World War would be established in the museum.

Mr Bage has formed a committee and started to accept donations. Mayor Mallon has pledged to support the idea and the council, which will not fund it, will offer other types of support.

Mr Bage, who has won the support of the Hollis family, said: “You talk to a lot of people who have never heard of Stan Hollis and yet his actions helped secure the freedom of three generations of British people.”

* Donate by sending cheques to The Stanley E Hollis VC Memorial Fund, 54a Church Street, Guisborough, Cleveland, TS14 6BX or log on to www.stanleyehollisvcmemorial.co.uk

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