Museum In Normandy
Starts To take Shape
By Peter Foley, Staff Writer
STE MERE EGLISE, France
(S&S) --- An eye-catching modernistic museum is being built here in the
shadows of a 13th century church as a memorial to Americans who lost
their lives during the Normandy invasion of 1944.
The site of the ultramodern translucent plastic, glass and brick
structure will be what was the American cemetery in the small farming
village of Ste. Mere Eglise, the first town in France to be liberated by
Although many of the villagers of the French town lost their lives
resisting the Germans, the town itself escaped destruction. Among
the ancient buildings there is the town's church which stands next to
the cemetery where the Americans were first laid to rest.
U.S. Ambassador to France James M. Gavin laid the corner stone for
the Museum of Parachute and Glider Troops on June 6.
The oval structure 80 feet in diameter, will be built on brick and
encased with glass. The overhead area will be in the shape of a
parachute made of translucent plastic.
Most startling feature of its design will be the use of a glider,
similar to the ones that ferried troops across the English Channel.
The interior will be split level, with part of the floor sloping
toward the center. The aircraft will be placed on the slanted part
of the floor with one wingtip protruding through the dome to cover the
According to Ste. mere Eglise town officials, the glider was used
in the motion picture "The Longest Day," a story of D-Day and was
donated to the museum by producer Daryl Zanuck.
Relics to be housed in the museum will include weapons, uniforms,
equipment used during the 1944 invasion. Models of U.S. military
Worlds War II aircraft will hang from the dome.
Money for construction will come from French business firms in
Normandy and donations from American and French citizens. The
505th Abn. Inf., the first unit to drop on Ste. Mere Eglise has c
ARCHITECT'S VIEW - here's what French architect
Francois Carpenter's drawing of the Museum of Parachute and Glider
Troops at Ste. Mere Eglise, France looks like. The
cornerstone was laid in Normandy during June 5 ceremonies.
[Stars and Stripes, June 7,
1962, images courtesy of Fritz Blum]
(Courtesy of Brodd family)
Harold Brodd, I
Company, made a donation to the fund established to enshrine a C-47 in the
Musée (museum) Airborne de Sainte-Mère-Eglise.
Dated June 6, 1979 it commemorates the 35th anniversary of
This letter of thanks was sent by Bob Murphy, who had been in
A Company, 505th and is known for his leadership in the defense of the La
Fière bridge. Murphy retired as a Colonel and became a lawyer after he
left the army. He also wrote the book
"No Better Place to Die"
a quotation of his own words to his platoon.
It is interesting to note that
when the C-47 aircraft made
its last flight as it was being delivered to the museum, Bob made a
parachute jump from the plane.
[Jumpmaster Note: It is interesting to see that the
Argonia C-47 was not the centerpiece of the original architectural design.
Instead the Waco glider mentioned in the article at left was to have been
the primary focal point. The glider is still an important display item
in the final design.