Men of D-Day

 Troop Carrier
Michael N. Ingrisano
Robert E. Callahan
Benjamin F. Kendig
John R. Devitt
Arthur W. Hooper
Ward Smith
Julian A. Rice
Charles E. Skidmore
Sherfey T. Randolph
Louis R. Emerson Jr.
Leonard L. Baer
Robert D. Dopita
Harvey Cohen
Zane H. Graves
John J. Prince
Henry C. Hobbs
John C. Hanscom
Charles S. Cartwright
 82nd Airborne
Leslie Palmer Cruise Jr.
Marie-T Lavieille
Denise Lecourtois
Howard Huebner
Malcolm D. Brannen
Thomas W. Porcella
Ray T. Burchell
Robert C. Moss
Richard R. Hill
Edward W. Shimko
 101st Airborne
John Nasea, Jr
David 'Buck' Rogers
Marie madeleine Poisson
Roger Lecheminant
Dale Q. Gregory
George E. Willey
Raymond Geddes
 Utah Beach
Joseph S. Jones
Jim McKee
Eugene D. Shales
Milton Staley
 Omaha Beach
Melvin B. Farrell
James R. Argo
Carl E. Bombardier
Robert M. Leach
Joseph Alexander
James Branch
John Hooper
Anthony Leone
George A. Davison
James H. Jordan
Albert J. Berard
Jewel M. Vidito
H. Smith Shumway
Louis Occelli
John H. Kellers
Harley A. Reynolds
John C. Raaen
Wesley Ross
Richard J. Ford
William C. Smith
Ralph E. Gallant
James W. Gabaree
James W. Tucker
Robert Watson
Robert R. Chapman
Robert H. Searl
Leslie Dobinson
William H. Johnson
 Gold Beach
George F. Weightman
Norman W. Cohen
Walter Uden
 Juno Beach
Leonard Smith
 Sword Beach
Brian Guy
 6th Airborne
Roger Charbonneau
Frederick Glover
Jacques Courcy
Arlette Lechevalier
Charles S. Pearson
Harvey Jacobs
William O. Gifford
Philippe Bauduin
Albert Lefevre
René Etrillard
Suzanne Lesueur


 Marie madeleine Poisson
Carentan - Manche

I was 31 years old in June of 1944, and I lived on my stepmother's farm, which was located on the Periers Road, near the southwest entrance to the city of Carentan. My fiancé had been captured in 1940 by the Germans, and I would not see him again until after the end of the war in 1945. Our living conditions were very difficult. We had ration cards for bread, sugar, and meat. However we were, just the same, better off on the farm in regards to feeding ourselves than the folks in the villages. My stepmother's farm was requisitioned by the Germans and served as an infirmary. We were obliged to live in the livestock buildings, but the experience of living with the Germans was not too unpleasant for us - we got along ok.

Some time before the D-Day Invasion, folks started to worry because there were many aircraft and increased aerial bombings as the month of June approached, but no one knew what was happening.
On June 5th, there were some strategic bombings: electrical lines, railroads, and bridges. At Carentan, the bridge of Saint-Hilaire-Petitville over the Taute river was bombed.

While these events began, we saw large numbers of paratroopers to the north, and in the direction of the sea. The wounded Germans came to our farm from across the swamps to seek medical assistance. The farm was full of Germans - they removed all the hay available and the wounded were placed in all available spaces until the whole area was full. Some bled to death there; the gravely wounded were moved away. As time passed, the situation at the farm became more and more difficult for I and my stepmother. The Germans became very nervous. Our neighbor, Charles Pigault, came to find us and tell us that we mustn't remain there because it was becoming too dangerous - the farm was no longer a secure place to be. We followed Mr. Pigault to his farm, and found a group of 40 other refugies.

We were locked in the house, and we could not leave, nor show ourselves. As soon as the Germans would see us, they would shoot, knowing just the same that we were civilians. We didn't move in the house, nor did we show ourselves at the windows. The men placed a table and other objects in a way that would protect us. The more time that passed, the meaner the Germans became. During the following days, the battle unfolded around us, and artillery rounds continually fell - one hit the chimney.
The first Americans that arrived were accompanied with a tank; the men that came to the door we saw arrive in the courtyard. We opened the door, and were obligated to leave the house, because the top of the house (thatch) had taken gunfire, and it was on fire. They never wanted us to stay at our house either - we had to leave for Carentan, on the road amongst the Americans that were heading to the front, and amongst the Germans that had been taken prisoner. During periods of combat, we had to descend into the ditches for protection. Those moments brought us great fear.

Arriving in Carentan, we went to the home of Mrs. Lecomte. There we had a visit from an American who seemed to me to be drunk. He held his bayonette in hand, however continued to drop it. He put all of us in a line, and took one of the men to take him through the house, including all of the rooms. Once done, such that he was convinced that there were only civilians there, he relaxed, and we even provided food. We only slept one night in that house, for it was not prudent to stay there. The area around the house was on fire, and there was great risk that the house would also catch on fire.
We then moved again, to a small furniture store where we stayed several days. After a last move into another house in Carentan, we finally returned home, healthy and rescued, to the farm that was now far away from the front line.

Marie madeleine Poisson     (November 23, 2003)

Translation from French by Thad J. Russell