507th Parachute Infantry Memorial (Amfreville)

This new monument to the 507th is one of the more recent additions, and very long overdue, only being unveiled on the 23rd July 2002 by the American Ambassador to France the hon. Howard R. Leach. The monument was paid for by the veterans of the 507th and their supporters. It is quite unusual as the land was purchased, the monument erected, and the upkeep of the site are all being funded from America. The monument was designed by Charles Smith (pictured next to the monument) who is based in Florida and was it executed by a local sculptor in Valognes. During the inauguration ceremony an empty chair was left at the base of the monument to represent the many Paratroopers who could not be there, many losing their lives in the countryside around the monument. A colour guard drawn from the both American and French troops presented the two countries flags. The story of the 507th is told on panels around the site. The aim of the 507th on D-day was to capture the bridges over the Merderet river, but the regiment was scattered over a wide area, mostly to the north west and south west of the intended drop area. This was due to a combination of events. The C47 pilots being inexperienced flew too high and too fast after flying into enemy flak and many parachutists were dropped in the wrong place. The river Merderet also had been flooded by the Germans and instead of a river the parachutists found themselves landing in or around a lake.

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