Sainte-Mère-Église Church

Sainte-Mère-Église, France

Sainte-Mère-Église Church was built in the 12th century. It is most well-known for the events occured during the D-Day, 6th June 1944; The early landings, at about 01:40 directly on the town, resulted in heavy casualties for the Allied paratroopers. Some buildings in town were on fire that night, and they illuminated the sky, making easy targets of the descending men. Some were sucked into the fire. Many hanging from trees and utility poles were shot before they could cut loose. The German defenders were alerted.

A famous incident involved paratrooper John Steele of the 505th PIR, whose parachute caught on the spire of the town church, and could only observe the fighting going on below. He 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, 505 Parachute Infantry Regiment attacked the village, capturing thirty Germans and killing another eleven. The incident was portrayed in the movie The Longest Day by actor Red Buttons.

Today there is a A paratrooper scultpure hanging from the church spire, commemorating the story of John Steele.

References:

Comments

Your name



Details

Founded: 12th century
Category: Religious sites in France
Historical period: Birth of Capetian dynasty (France)

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Carlos Francisco Ragout (9 months ago)
The famous church where a parachuter got stranded in the bell tower. Best of the church are the vitreaux with a parachuters theme. Never seen something like that before.
wybobhom (11 months ago)
I was there back in 1983 when I was in the US Army stationed in W Germany. Visited this historic site as part of an officer’s professional development tour…believe it or not, there was a very good Chinese restaurant in this town…
David (13 months ago)
Beautiful historical town. Had lunch here as well.
Justine Tkachenko (2 years ago)
Quaint little town all dedicated to the 81st and 101st Airborne Divisions. The Airborne Museum is a must!
DARREN L (2 years ago)
Nice church, lots of history.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Gruyères Castle

The Castle of Gruyères is one of the most famous in Switzerland. It was built between 1270 and 1282, following the typical square plan of the fortifications in Savoy. It was the property of the Counts of Gruyères until the bankruptcy of the Count Michel in 1554. His creditors the cantons of Fribourg and Bern shared his earldom. From 1555 to 1798 the castle became residence to the bailiffs and then to the prefects sent by Fribourg.

In 1849 the castle was sold to the Bovy and Balland families, who used the castle as their summer residency and restored it. The castle was then bought back by the canton of Fribourg in 1938, made into a museum and opened to the public. Since 1993, a foundation ensures the conservation as well as the highlighting of the building and the art collection.

The castle is the home of three capes of the Order of the Golden Fleece. They were part of the war booty captured by the Swiss Confederates (which included troops from Gruyères) at the Battle of Morat against Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy in 1476. As Charles the Bold was celebrating the anniversary of his father's death, one of the capes is a black velvet sacerdotal vestment with Philip the Good's emblem sewn into it.

A collection of landscapes by 19th century artists Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Barthélemy Menn and others are on display in the castle.