In the early
darkness hours of D-DAY, I dropped from the skies into a tree in an apple
orchard near Chef-Du-Pont, France. I cut a strap allowing myself to fall
to a hedgerow and then onto the ground below.
Soon I was joined
by a couple of other troopers. We started to walk towards a barn, until we
heard voices coming from the barn.
Having orders not
to engage the enemy in small groups and not knowing whether the voices
were friend or foe we took another direction.
34 years later I
returned to Normandy for a Regimental re-union and was able to visit the
orchard and farm where I had landed on D-DAY.
The man of the
house had been one of the voices we heard in the barn on that night of 5-6th
June, 1944. He told me the story of 2 small brothers.
ack-ack, they sneaked out of the barn to see what was going on. Having
seen a paratrooper land in a tree, they discussed among themselves what
they should do?
Then they saw the
paratrooper leave their property, they quickly collected the parachute and
back packs as valuable treasures.
following years, their mother had used the reserve chute for sheets, but
the back pack was placed in the hayloft, where it remained untouched until
The French farmer
went to the barn and returned back with the back pack, which he presented
it to me. Being unable to bring it back home with me, I left the back pack
with the farmer.
Much to my pleasure
and surprise, the back pack arrived at my home a month later, having been
sent by airmail by the French family.