Pvte John Steele of F Company 505th PIR 82nd Airborne Division jumped into Normandy on the night of 5th-6th June 1944. Poor weather conditions led to a scattered drop and 36 men of Steele’s company came down into the Church square of St Mere Eglise where they were captured or killed.
Some buildings in the village were on fire and the fires illuminated the night sky, making easy targets of the descending paratroopers. Steele’s parachute caught on the Church Tower where he hung for two hours feigning death. He was eventually taken prisoner for a further two hours before he escaped and rejoined his unit. Steele was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his exploits in Normandy.
His experience was famously recreated by the actor Red Buttons in the film ‘The Longest Day’.
If you found this interesting:
Book yourself one of Malcolm Clough’s famous Living History Tours.
An unrivalled experience that will stay with you for the rest of your days.
We can tailor our tours to suit your specific requirements or we can suggest an itinerary if you let us know what interests you most.