Sunday, May 5, 2013

Hand Operated Water Pumps: Sainte-Mère-Église - Normandy, France

Interesting Places I've Photographed
Sainte-Mère-Église Historical Pump
Normandy, France
Topic: Hand Operated Water Pumps

Historical Pump
GPS: N49° 24.527 W001° 18.950

Quick Description: 

Sainte-Mère-Église is a commune in the Manche department in Normandy, France. The town pump at Sainte-Mère-Église is now a national monument.

Long Description:

Sainte-Mère-Église was first occupied by German forces on June 18th 1940 and they remained billeted in the town. On the night of June 5th - 6th a house on the town square caught fire. The French townspeople gathered around the town pump, now a national monument, to form a bucket brigade in order to put out the fire. The German troops, awakened by the commotion gathered in the square to watch.

Unfortunately, for the U.S. forces, this was the night when units of the 82nd Airborne Division secretly parachuted into the town in preparation for the D-Day invasion of Normandy. They were clearly visible in the light of the fire. The surprise was lost and the occupying German troops opened fire. However, by 04:30, the town was taken by members of the 505th led by Lieutenant-Colonel Edward C. Krause and Sainte-Mère-Église became the first town to be liberated in France.

Historical Marker
A sign next to the town pump, inscribed in French and in English, tell the story of the night of June 5-6 and the significance of the pump. It reads:

Nuit du 5 au 6 juin 1944 - 23 heures

Un incendie se déclare à l'emplacement du musée actuel.
les pompiers essaient de maitriser l'incendie. Bientôt, hommes
et femmes se passent des seaux d'eau de main en main.
On fait la chaîne depuis cette pompe. Une cinquantaine de sol-
dats allemands sont là aussi armés de fusils.
Soudain, les mitrailleuses du bourg entrent en action. Juste au
dessus des têtes, des avions déferlent. Tout à coup, des para-
chutistes sautent des carlingues et descendent rapidement vers
la terre. les allemands oivert le feu. Tout autour, les parachu-
tistes s'abattent sur le sol, l'un deux se dirige vers le brasier.

There is a house burning in the compound of this Museum.
Volunteer firemen fight the blaze with the help of local people
who formed a bucket brigade from this hand-pump. About 50
German soldiers gather on the spot. All of a sudden they activate
their machine guns as low flying planes are dropping paratroopers
who were shot as they hit the ground. One paratrooper walked to-
tard the burning house.

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