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George Hollis, who was born in Chipping Sodbury during October 1833, was an early winner of the Victoria Cross who settled in Exeter after his army life.
Hollis was a 24 year old farrier in the 8th Hussars (evolved into The King's Royal irish) when they were serving in India during the Indian Mutiny in 1858. While at Gwalior with his unit, he took part in a charge through the enemy camp capturing two of the enemy's guns, which they then dragged into their own camp, all the while, under intense enemy fire from the fort.
The London Gazette printed this citation:
“On 17th June, 1858 at Gawlior, India, Farrier Hollis, together with three others [Captain C.W. Heneage, Sargeant J. Ward, and Private J. Pearson, all of whom were elected by the regiment to receive the VC], was in a gallant charge made by a squadron of the 8th Hussars when, supported by a division of the Bombay Horse Artillery and the 95th Regiment, they routed the enemy. Charging through a rebel camp into two batteries, they captured and brought into their own camp two of the enemy's guns, under a heavy and converging fire from the fort and town.”
George Hollis moved to Exeter when he retired from the army and took work with Sanders and Snow, wine merchants of Gandy Street. There is an advert in the Flying Post during 1860 for four dwellng houses known as Casley's Court, Cowick Street where a Hollis is mentioned as a tenant; it is not certain that this is George, but it is known he lived in Cowick Street. He died on the 16th May 1879, after a brief illness at his home and was buried in Exwick Cemetery. See Hollis' grave.
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