Famously, the Church at Angoville-au-Plain was used as a first aid station during D-Day by 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment medics, private Kenneth J. Moore and private Robert E. Wright.
Let's go back to June 1944 with an amazing photo. This image will take you back in time. Check out the details and meet two true 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment Angels!
Moore, the taller one of the two 501st PIR medics, does not wear a helmet. Earlier he has been hit in the head by falling debris after a mortar round hit the roof of the church. Wright leans against the altar.
There are US medic bags, canteens and gear on the marble altar. On the right, a 1st pattern US 'Yukon' packboard leans against the wooden pew stand. Behind Wright: a folded stretcher against the wall.
Next to nothing has changed inside the 'Église Saint-Côme et Saint-Damien d'Angoville au Plain', almost 80 years later. The altar, the pews, the statues... even the holes in the shrine on the altar are still there!
A shattered floortile, witness of a mortar round coming in through the roof, but failing to detonate. A faithfull moment Bob Wright never forgot. Debris from the ceiling injured Ken Moore, earning him a purple heart.
In the make shift first aid post the medics cared for American and German soldiers as for civilians caught up in the fighting during D-Day and the days after. Both Moore and Wright were awared a Silver Star medal.
Some of the church pews, the benches, still carry reminders of the battle. The bloodstains are still visible in the wood.
WWII History Then & Now 1944 - 2023:
79 years fade away with this Then & Now comparisment. Let's take a closer look at the packboard at the right and pack/bag at the left. We think we've got an ID on both pieces of US fieldgear.
A Then & Now in color taken by our friend Paul Zoetendaal, with Siebe Buijse. 79 years later at the exact spot.
A Then & Now in black and white taken by the marvelous Marjolein Spiering-Maas featuring PGH's Tim Hendriks and Ab van 't Veen.
Private Kenneth J. Moore and private Bob E. Wright would make it through Normandy and all of World War II. Here is some more information on these two extraordinairy men.
The above roster on the 501st PIR medics above is not complete. It was a first attempt to get the names together of the combat medics, divided in 4 sections: Regimental, Red, White and Blue.
As always Red stands for 1st Battalion, White stands for 2nd Battalion, and Blue stands for 3rd Battalion. In this case for the 'Geronimo Men' a.k.a. 'The Diamonds' a.k.a. 'The Klondikes'.
Some photos we took of Bob Wright during the 2002, 2003 and 2008 D-Day Ceremonies at Angoville-au-Plain, the Field Camp and the former Dropzone (during a LJT parachutage commemorating D-Day).
The monument in 2023, 21 years after the ceremony.
Inside the church two stained glass windows reflect on the legacy of the 501st PIR medics. Their portraits on the wall.
Robert E. Wrights marker at the church cemetery. His initials carved in stone. The framed photo depict Bob together with our friend Tom Colones, who passed away suddenly in 2020.
© Paratrooper Research Team - Normandy 2023 - Angoville-au-Plain Church - Then & Now
Special thanks to: George Koskimaki, Daniel Hamchin & Max van den Wijngaard.