Ray T. Burchell.
Pvt - Company 'C' - 325th Glider Infantry Regiment, 82nd
My name is Ray T. Burchell and
I was in 82nd Airborne during WWII. I was not a paratrooper but
served in Company 'C', 325th Glider Infantry, I was a rifleman,
Company radio operator. This was a #400 radio that I carried on
my back. This unit weighted 45 pounds.
I was in on D-Day invasion, my
glider landed near Sainte-Mere-Eglise. It crashed when we landed,
I was knocked out, when I came to, James Bristow (deceased) was
only one there from my glider. We heard rifle shots and machine
gun fire coming from town so we took off in the direction of the
We were perhaps 1/8 mile from Sainte-Mere-Eglise. We came upon this
narrow path (perhaps cow path) but anyway we went up it and ran
into 5-6 paratroopers from 505. We joined up with them, and we took
part in battle for Sainte-Mere-Eglise.
As we moved forward up this narrow
path, I looked straight ahead of me and I saw side of church with
John Steele hanging there on church roof where his parachute had
got caught on slate roof. I thought he was dead as he did not move
at all. Little did I know that two German soldiers were still in
I was in Normandy for 33 days
until the 82nd got replaced by another division. I took part in
these battles, the battle for Sainte-Mere-Eglise, we fought for
and held four bridges over Merderet river at La Fiere and at Chef-du-Pont
and over the Douve river at Pont-l'Abbe and at Beuzeville-la-Bastille.
We never gave back any ground to Germans once we took it from them.
Ray T. Burchell (April
Testimony collected by Hervé Pellan