Angoville: A Place of Honor
During the dark early morning hours of D-day, Tuesday, June 6th,1944, 30,000 allied paratroopers descended on France with the mission of stopping German reinforcements from reaching the forth coming invasion beaches and to occupy as much land possible for landing troops and supplies.
Three miles inland from western Utah beach, two American 101st airborne medics, T/5 Robert Wright and Pvt. Ken Moore, immediately upon landing moved to the nearby farm hamlet of Angoville au Plain’s Norman church to use as an aid station. As dawn broke the houses and farm buildings became alive as German soldiers moved in to retake the American occupied town they had vacated earlier. The medics were hard pressed collecting their wounded from the surrounding area of fields separated by deadly hedgerows that restricted recognition and movement. The medics, using a farm cart, transported enemies and friends alike. Seeing their compassion the Germans allowed them to pass and brought their wounded to the church. The rule was “No Guns Allowed”. A German sniper, hiding in the belfry, came down to become their aid. Mistakenly an American tank, in the afternoon, blew off the front doors. A mortar round of unknown source came through the roof crashing harmlessly on the church floor cracking the slate tile visible today. The lightly wounded lay on the pews, their blood stains remain. The badly wounded lay around the communion operating table, the dead were laid in the sacristy and behind the church. Within two days the local battle had moved on. Eighty eight wounded had been treated.
The rural intersection beside the church and cemetery is named “Place Toccoa”, a memorialized site named after the paratroopers’ training camp in Georgia. Donated stained glass memorial windows have replaced those blown out. The shell hole in the roof has been visibly repaired. Bullet chipped walls abound. Commemorative services, with diminishing numbers of veterans present, are held annually. Robert Wright and Ken Moore have passed away in recent years. Few honored veterans are still capable of making the annual pilgrimage.
Plan your pilgrimage to “Stand Where They Fought”.
Recommended reading “ANGELS OF MERCY”, by Paul Woodadge, publisher SARL Battlebus, Paul@ddayhistorian.com