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.

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Details

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

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

shirley north (6 months ago)
Well worth a visit. The stained glass windows are amazing.
Albert Pujadas (6 months ago)
Of great historical interest. To highlight the church vitralles and the mannequin of airborne John Steel.
David Ferdinando (10 months ago)
This small town was key the evening before D-Day. Under the cover of darkness the Airborne division dropped and were scattered all over this area. One soldier from the 101st got his parachute stuck on the bell tower. Today there is a model in his honour. When planning to visit Normandy, it is well worth watching: The Longest Day / Band of Brothers.
stacey BATTERBEE (10 months ago)
A must to see. Parking isn't badly priced. There are other places to see also.
Mark Van Veluw (11 months ago)
Nice place an a nice little French town for a day out.
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