A Paratrooper John Steele Doll hanging in the Bell Tower in Ste Mere Eglise

John Steele and the Bell Tower of Ste Mere Eglise

Anthony Bourdain:

“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”

On the night before D-Day (June 5–6, 1944), American soldiers of the 82nd Airborne parachuted into the area west of Sainte-Mère-Église in successive waves. The town had been the target of an aerial attack and a stray incendiary bomb had set fire to a house east of the town square. The church bell was rung to alert the town of the emergency and townspeople turned out in large numbers to form a bucket brigade supervised by members of the German garrison. By 0100 hours, the town square was well lit and filled with German soldiers and villagers when two sticks (planeloads of paratroopers) from the 1st and 2ndbattalions were dropped in error directly over the village.

A Paratrooper John Steele Doll hanging in the Bell Tower in Ste Mere Eglise
A Paratrooper John Steele Doll hanging in the Bell Tower in Ste Mere Eglise

The paratroopers were easy targets, and Steele was one of only a few non-casualties. His parachute was caught in one of the pinnacles of the church tower, causing the cables on his parachute to stretch to their full length, leaving him hanging on the side of the church to witness the carnage. The wounded paratrooper hung there limply for two hours, pretending to be dead, before the Germans took him prisoner. Steele later escaped from the Germans and rejoined his division when US troops of the 3rd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment attacked the village capturing thirty Germans and killing another eleven. For these actions and his wounds, Steele was awarded the Bronze Star for valor and the Purple Heart for being wounded in combat. (Source: Wikipedia)

From the Blog

Travelling Through Norway

Travelling in Norway will take you from the highest mountain to the deepest fiords, from the gentle southern coast to the land of the midnight

Read More »

The Dudutki Open Air Museum

Dudutki is a museum complex of ancient crafts and technologies. It’s a fascinating journey into the world of the old life and professions, tasting original

Read More »

Keen on the Kew Gardens

Keen on Kew Gardens Getting to Kew Gardens from Central London is not a problem. There are bus stops and train stations close by.  

Read More »
WordPress SEO