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I was just about to paint the picture for the readers of my articles about what happened to the men in Normandy.  2nd Lt Sweeney was killed on 6 June 1944 and thank god I went right to the source instead of the secondary source. For years I have used the footnotes from Phil Nordykeís book All American All The Way.

In the first pressing of this book I realized that on page 238 the writer had a 307th 2nd Lt Durham as being the man killed with Hq Co 2nd Bn Charles Sammon. After reading the footnotes I realized that this could not have been 2nd Lt Durham as he was killed 7 June 23 miles away as a POW. 2nd Lt Durham broke one of his legs on the jump so it was not him. The only Lt Engineer who could have been killed was Sweeney. Nordyke changed the information on the next pressing on my say so.

Iíve creating a narrative based on the Sammon narrative in the Nordyke book. I requested and received the 10 page narrative from Ohio University in Athens that houses Cornelius Ryan papers for the book The Longest Day. I requested this to verify the line concerning the death of an Engineer.

With all of the documents and the original narrative from Sammon I was good to go. When putting words to paper I then read the Sammon narrative about the Lt killed right next to him. Thank god I did read it word for word. Instead of being 99% sure that the 2nd Lt Sweeney and the Lt in the Sammon narrative were one and the same Iím now 80% certain.

Here is the book passage that is in quotations from Nordyke;

"About that time a lieutenant [James L. Durham] from the airborne engineers came running up the road in a Ö

Here is the actually quote

"At about this momentt [sic] a Lieutenant from the Airborne Engineers I believe came running up the road in aÖ

There are a few things wrong with the quotation, first it isnít the quote at all. Whether it was Nordyke or the Editor that changed the quote, this was not the quote. There is a huge difference between About that time and At about this moment. Then you canít put the bracket in the middle of a quote. That would be explained with a footnote in the next sentence after the quotation. The next error is airborne engineers should be upper case and yet we are still not at the grievous part.

Here is the Nordyke version; a lieutenant [James L. Durham] from the airborne engineers came running up, while the actual quote from Sammon is; a Lieutenant from the Airborne Engineers I believe came running up the road, which is a complete different meaning.

Sammon should have a comma after I believe but other than that it was fine. Sammon was not sure that the officer with him was an Engineer, hence he said, I believe, where Norkyke took that out of the actual quote and put a name in the quote which made it look like the writer was 100% certain. It should have been written in this fashion;

"At about this momentt [sic] a Lieutenant from the Airborne Engineers I believe, came running up the road in aÖ Since he only believed that means Sammon did not know the 2nd Lt whom he thought might be an Engineer. You should never use the name unless sure or use a follow up paragraph explaining why it was thought to be that person.

BN Siddall

July 17, 2014

 

 


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