The village of Sainte-Mère-Église in 1944

One of the strangest incidents during the Second World War took place in the French town of Sainte-Mère-Église. During the Invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, paratroopers of the Allied forces parachuted into the town in the middle of the night.


The Sainte-Mère-Église church

The parachute of John Steele of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment got caught on the spire of the Sainte-Mère-Église church, which dates from the 12th century.

A memorial to the John Steele, the U.S. parachutist

After playing dead for hours, Steele was captured by the Germans. He later escaped and helped to liberate the town. Today a mannequin with a parachute represents his long suspension from the tower.

Stained glass window depicting the paratroopers

The Virgin Mary is depicted on one of the two stained glass windows in the chapel of Saint-Mère-Eglise that commemorates the landing of the paratroopers on D-Day.

The other stained glass window depicts St. Michael

St. Michael is pictured among the insignia of the Allied military units that fought on D-Day. Sainte-Mère-Église ended up being the first town liberated by the Allies.