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The difference between a great story and historical accurate one is the documentation which is backed up by facts.

Before the main article;

Mrs. Guidry the widow of Sgt Ray said that she didn’t know about what had happened to her husband Sgt Ray until she read the book D-Day: June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II by Stephen E. Ambrose.

I went and pulled down the book and went to page 211 where Ken Russell a Co F man spoke of Sgt Ray.  In the book Russell stated that he saw Sgt Ray get shot in the gut and while dying shot the German who had shot him.  The only problem with that is that Sgt Ray didn’t die until June 13, 1944, not June 6, 1944.  I then went to the Endnotes of the book and it stated that this information came from a Ron Drez interview with Ken Russell. 

This is the problem with just taking the word of someone without doing fact checking.  Ambrose and by extension Drez shouldn’t have put that into the book.  If you can’t prove your work it shouldn’t have been in a non-fiction book. 

Now on to the Louis Levy article

1st Lt Louis Levy was an enigma for many years while researching the 507th Prcht Inf and Co D in particular.  Co D was the smallest group of men from a Company I’d interviewed over the years for the 507th Prcht Inf.  The information I had about 1st Lt Levy was from the Marshall Regimental Unit Study Number 5 and Captain Creek from Co E.  Captain Creek for years said the 1st Lt Levy had been killed June 15, 1944 during the battle of la Bonneville.  It was an interesting story but I could never use the information because I couldn’t verify what Captain Creek had said.

In early 2008 I located the Weekly Burial Reports for Normandy.[1]  It had 1st Lt Levy's burial listed as July 5, 1944 which didn’t jive with Captain Creek’s account.  I then ordered the IDPF for 1st Lt Levy which arrived a few months later.[2] That had July 5, 1944 listed in all of the documentation as it pertained to his death. 

In July of 2008 I interviewed Irvin N. Holtan a member of Co D.  Mr. Holtan had a massive amount of information about Co D from the States until the end of the war.  One piece of information was about 1st Lt Levy.  It contradicted Captain Creek’s version of what transpired in the death of 1st Lt Levy.  I still couldn’t use what had happened to 1st Lt Levy’s death because there was no documentation to back it up.  I had no doubt that Mr. Holtan was in fact correct, but it wasn’t enough

In 2009 I located the Morning Reports for the 507th Prcht Inf between April and July of 1944.  On the July Morning Reports it showed 1st Lt Levy dying on July 5, 1944.[3]  I also located on the Morning Reports for Hq Co 2nd Bn.  1st Lt Walter F. Keenan was the Mortar Platoon Leader for Hq Co 2nd Bn.  In the Morning Reports and the IDPF it showed him being wounded June 15, 1944[4] and dying 3 days later.[5] 

I then revisited Captain Creek’s story about the death of a 1st Lt who was hit by shrapnel on the date of June 15, 1944.  The officers had been at the CP when the Mortar hit them. 

Captain Creek stated that a 1st Lt had been hit in the gut and died half an hour later.  He said he kept asking for water but they couldn’t give it to him because of the stomach wound. 

Captain Creek had always named 1st Lt Levy as the man killed that day.  When I contacted Mr. Creek about this information I mentioned all of the documentation about what had happened that day.  He said “You can’t always believe documentation”).  This was a man who didn’t like admitting he had made a mistake.  There was no doubt that the man who was wounded on June 15, 1944 and died three days later was 1st Lt Keenan, not Levy.  In one of my articles back then I did list the death of 1st Lt Keenan and what had happened to him.[6]  I still couldn’t verify what had happened to 1st Lt Levy though.

I set aside the Levy article as I couldn’t list what had happened to him without some more documentation.  As mentioned a few months ago I ran across the information about the death of Sgt Ray and the error by Ambrose in the D-Day book and the Headstone in Normandy.  After finishing the Ray events I then revisited the death of 1st Lt Levy.  I then found the last piece of the puzzle and could prove Mr. Holtan’s narrative from 2008.  Here is 1st Lt Levy's time in the 507th Prcht Inf in Normandy.

1st Lt Louis Levy joined the 507th Prcht Inf April 6, 1944 and became the 2nd Platoon Assistant Leader for Co D.[7]  The 507th Prcht Inf was attached to the 82nd Abn Div for Operation Neptune.  The 507th jumped into Normandy at 0232 hours the morning of June 6, 1944.[8]  1st Lt Levy and the rest of Co D landed in and around DZ T itself.[9]  They were the first planes into Normandy for the 507th Prcht Inf.[10]

The first mention of 1st Lt Levy is in the official documentation is the

Marshall Regimental Unit Study Number 5.  Levy and 30 men underneath him ran into Lt Col Timmes and his group of 30 men.  They were northwest of Church at Cauquigny around daybreak.[11]  Lt Col Timmes’ group moved out towards Amfreville with 1st Lt Levy.  The plan was to divert the Germans while the main force attacked Amfreville.[12]

Timmes hadn’t forgotten the west end of the la Fierè Causeway either.  At midmorning he calls in 1st Lt Levy and tells him to take 10 men southwest back to the Church at Cauquigny and capture the ground around it.[13]  The narrative by S.L.A. Marshall can be viewed here along with the maps.  1st Lt Levy is the key part of this Unit Study.[14]  1st Lt Levy is also mentioned at the end of the Study mentioned in the last paragraph in leading Co B 325th Gli Inf in the attack on June 9, 1944.

1st Lt Levy was killed July 5, 1944 in the battle for la Poterie Ridge, Hill 131.[15]  This is where Mr. Holtan’s narrative comes into play along with the Surgeon Generals’ Report showing the type of wound Levy suffered.[16]  Here is the narrative from Mr. Holtan;

“Lt Levy was hit by a sniper in thigh.  I pulled him to cover then tried to find the bleeding.  I took off his lower uniform and saw that his thigh was swollen and bleeding.  I tried to stop the bleeding but couldn't.  Lt Levy died while I worked on his wound”.

It has been 7 ½ years since I first heard this from Mr. Holtan and read both the IDPF and Weekly Burial Reports.  The last piece of the puzzle was found and could authenticate the rest of the narrative and documentation.  The CASUALTY RECORD(S) shows that 1st Lt Levy was hit in the groin and bled to death.  There are certain types of wounds that usually can’t be repaired.  One is the Femoral Artery when shredded, the bleeding can’t be contained.  That is what happened to 1st Lt Levy that day July 5, 1944 who was buried at the Blosville Cemetery July 8, 1944 in plot I-09-161 (highlighted in red).

After starting again on the Levy article I discovered that the DAV (Disabled American Veterans) Chapter 11 in Yuma, Arizona is named after Louis Levy.  I reached out to Bryan D. Lutze the Commander of this Chapter.  He was nice enough to send along a photo of 1st Lt Louis Levy that hangs on the wall at the DAV.[17]  Because 1st Lt Levy came into the Company in April of 1944 there was no picture of him in the 507th Prcht Inf 1943 Yearbook. 

When speaking with Bryan he said that the Levy family rents the hall sometimes at the DAV.  I hope to get in touch with a family member of 1st Lt Levy as in the Personal Effects sent home after his death was a few photos and 41 letters.  It would be interesting to follow from induction to the day he became part of Co D 507th Prcht Inf.  I have also attached all of the documentation of his time in the 507th Prcht Inf and his injury on July 5, 1944.[18]

It has taken 9 years to get to this point and it was well worth it.  From reading the reports after Normandy 1st Lt Levy would have been a valuable asset to the 507th Prcht Inf and to the 82nd Abn Div as well. 

 

Brian N. Siddall

December 12, 2015

 

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