Richmond museum to feature on Antiques Roadshow in D-Day special

Bill Harriman and Amanda Hart viewing the medals of CSM Stan Hollis VC,

The Green Howards Museum will feature in this Sunday’s Antiques Roadshow on BBC One as part of a D-Day special commemorating the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy on June 6, 1944.

In preparation for D-Day 80, a film crew team visited the museum to film militaria specialist, Bill Harriman, viewing the medals of CSM Stanley Hollis VC, the only soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross on D-Day.

Stan’s granddaughter, Amanda Hart, was there to show Bill her grandfather’s collection of medals and explain Stan’s remarkable actions after he landed on Gold Beach in Normandy as Company Sergeant Major of the 6th Battalion Green Howards.

This included two separate counts of bravery that saved the lives of many of his men.

On the first occasion, Stan cleared a pillbox, which was threatening the Allied advance and concealed Germans whose machine gun fire would undoubtedly have killed many British soldiers as they attempted to move inland from Gold Beach.

He took 26 prisoners before clearing several more Germans from a neighbouring trench and securing his men’s safety.

Later that same day, in the village of Crepon, Stann and two men attacked a German field gun.

The Germans returned fire, Stan managed to get away but, on realising the other two men were trapped, he told his commanding officer, Major Ronald Lofthouse: “I took them in. I will try to get them out.”

Stan then went back into the position alone – in full view of the enemy and continually being fired upon – before creating a diversion with a Bren gun and grenade which enabled the two men to escape.

Of these incredible acts of heroism, Amanda said: “I’m humbled by the interest that’s still been shown in my grandfather and that people remember what he did and he’s not been forgotten. It’s always a pleasure to be here.

“I’ve really enjoyed the new D-Day Exhibition and I always fully support the work of the museum.”

Stan’s VC is on permanent display in the museum’s spectacular Medal Room, which holds 4,500 medals, including 14 VCs and 3 George Crosses. All the medals tell important stories of brave and heroic men, but with D-Day 80 coming soon, the Hollis VC has been the focus of much interest.

Head of collections, Zoe Utley, said: “Stan’s Victoria Cross is one of the most important objects in the Green Howards collection.

“We are very proud to be the home of Stan’s unique Victoria Cross and to tell his story of impeccable leadership, duty and friendship.”

Stan’s story forms part of a bigger museum exhibition detailing some of the personal stories of the 1,200 Green Howards who served in Normandy on D-Day.

Whilst their part at the centre of the action is well-documented, the individual stories of men – told through letters, personal items, clothing, and first-hand accounts from those who were there – gives a much more rounded picture of men like Hollis and Private Ken Cooke, one of the last surviving soldiers of D-Day.

Speaking of the museum, Emma Woods CEO said: “The museum tells the inspiring stories of ordinary people who did extraordinary things – and this is certainly demonstrated by our current special exhibition commemorating the 80th anniversary of D-Day which remembers the important part the Green Howards played in the beach landings on 6th June 1944.

“It’s an honour to pay tribute to those who gave so much.”

Antiques Roadshow featuring The Green Howards Museum is scheduled for broadcast on Sunday, June 2 at 8pm on BBC1.

The Green Howards 80th Anniversary D-Day exhibition at The Green Howards Museum is open Monday to Saturday 10am to 4pm.

See throughout 2024 for further information on exhibitions, tours, talks, workshops and family-friendly events.