The story of John Steele

The story of John Steele

KeynoteFiwi
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KeynoteFiwi
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Joined: December 21st, 2017, 10:33 am

December 21st, 2017, 10:41 am #1

Dear all,

there has been some discussion on a Facebook group and I'd like to know your opinion about it.

There was mentioned that stories about 1 even 2 paratroopers hanging at the bell tower in SteMèreEglise is completely made up by Hollywood, also John Steele being shot in the foot, since he would jump in Market Garden, they say it's not likely he was shot in the foot, nor hung at the bell tower as mentioned in the movie The Longest Day.

Any ideas ?
Phil
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arjones
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arjones
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Joined: November 13th, 2014, 3:01 pm

January 10th, 2018, 2:04 am #2

KeynoteFiwi wrote: Dear all,

there has been some discussion on a Facebook group and I'd like to know your opinion about it.

There was mentioned that stories about 1 even 2 paratroopers hanging at the bell tower in SteMèreEglise is completely made up by Hollywood, also John Steele being shot in the foot, since he would jump in Market Garden, they say it's not likely he was shot in the foot, nor hung at the bell tower as mentioned in the movie The Longest Day.

Any ideas ?
Phil
Dear Phil

He and indeed others were caught up on bell towers and trees throughout the US and British airborne drop zones (and outside them!). John Steele did hang in St Mere Eglise but perhaps the confusion has arisen because the French (never ones to miss a photo op) have moved a dummy to the square side of the tower when in reality he landed on the eastern side of the tower away from normal view.  John Steele was shot and the round actually removed his boot heel so whilst perhaps bruising him, it was insufficient to prevent his subsequent drops (he did 4 combat drops).    "The Longest Day" was filmed in 1961 and done whilst many veterans were still alive and able to be consultants to the film (after the disasterous first Market Garden film of 1946 "Theirs is the Glory" filmed with the real veterans who were incredibly factual lacking the necessary film drama , "The Longest Day" used actors (bar one soldier/actor). Most events were filmed on location but  for example, the Ouistreham Casino was moved to Port en Bessin again for dramatic reasons!     

Hope this helps .. I'm lucky to live around 15 miles from St Mere Eglise so am able to visit these locations regularly.

Edited to add ... .Incidentally Facebook is a superb site for a lot of wild unsubstantiated claims to gather momentum .... treat with extreme caution!  I tend to replace the a and e with two other letters from the alphabet and treat it that way!

Regards Adrian
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KeynoteFiwi
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KeynoteFiwi
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Joined: December 21st, 2017, 10:33 am

January 12th, 2018, 6:17 am #3

Thanks Adrian
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cpmac
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cpmac
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Joined: November 18th, 2009, 4:49 am

January 21st, 2018, 4:59 am #4

arjones wrote:
KeynoteFiwi wrote: Dear all,

there has been some discussion on a Facebook group and I'd like to know your opinion about it.

There was mentioned that stories about 1 even 2 paratroopers hanging at the bell tower in SteMèreEglise is completely made up by Hollywood, also John Steele being shot in the foot, since he would jump in Market Garden, they say it's not likely he was shot in the foot, nor hung at the bell tower as mentioned in the movie The Longest Day.

Any ideas ?
Phil
Dear Phil

He and indeed others were caught up on bell towers and trees throughout the US and British airborne drop zones (and outside them!). John Steele did hang in St Mere Eglise but perhaps the confusion has arisen because the French (never ones to miss a photo op) have moved a dummy to the square side of the tower when in reality he landed on the eastern side of the tower away from normal view.  John Steele was shot and the round actually removed his boot heel so whilst perhaps bruising him, it was insufficient to prevent his subsequent drops (he did 4 combat drops).    "The Longest Day" was filmed in 1961 and done whilst many veterans were still alive and able to be consultants to the film (after the disasterous first Market Garden film of 1946 "Theirs is the Glory" filmed with the real veterans who were incredibly factual lacking the necessary film drama , "The Longest Day" used actors (bar one soldier/actor). Most events were filmed on location but  for example, the Ouistreham Casino was moved to Port en Bessin again for dramatic reasons!     

Hope this helps .. I'm lucky to live around 15 miles from St Mere Eglise so am able to visit these locations regularly.

Edited to add ... .Incidentally Facebook is a superb site for a lot of wild unsubstantiated claims to gather momentum .... treat with extreme caution!  I tend to replace the a and e with two other letters from the alphabet and treat it that way!

Regards Adrian



As you say John Steele was caught up on the other side of the tower, but wae wouldn..t see the manequin if was there. Ken Russel was hanging on the side of the roof and got away. John Rey fell on the ground, was shot by a German who was then going to shoot Russell and Steele but Rey shot him. He died from his wound. steele was present when they made the film. He died in 69.
Colin McGarry
Normandy Tour guide
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arjones
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arjones
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Joined: November 13th, 2014, 3:01 pm

January 22nd, 2018, 10:25 am #5

Agreed but to follow the full story you really need to see the ground and why events happened as they did...  and how the film reflects reality!

Adrian Ridley-Jones
https://www.larougerie.co.uk
https://Battlefield.Guide/
Unique Tour Operator of the Year 2018 Normandy - Luxury Travel Guide
2015 - 1st in Normandy - Tour HQ
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cpmac
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cpmac
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Joined: November 18th, 2009, 4:49 am

February 12th, 2018, 7:31 am #6

arjones wrote:
KeynoteFiwi wrote: Dear all,

there has been some discussion on a Facebook group and I'd like to know your opinion about it.

There was mentioned that stories about 1 even 2 paratroopers hanging at the bell tower in SteMèreEglise is completely made up by Hollywood, also John Steele being shot in the foot, since he would jump in Market Garden, they say it's not likely he was shot in the foot, nor hung at the bell tower as mentioned in the movie The Longest Day.

Any ideas ?
Phil
Dear Phil

He and indeed others were caught up on bell towers and trees throughout the US and British airborne drop zones (and outside them!). John Steele did hang in St Mere Eglise but perhaps the confusion has arisen because the French (never ones to miss a photo op) have moved a dummy to the square side of the tower when in reality he landed on the eastern side of the tower away from normal view.  John Steele was shot and the round actually removed his boot heel so whilst perhaps bruising him, it was insufficient to prevent his subsequent drops (he did 4 combat drops).    "The Longest Day" was filmed in 1961 and done whilst many veterans were still alive and able to be consultants to the film (after the disasterous first Market Garden film of 1946 "Theirs is the Glory" filmed with the real veterans who were incredibly factual lacking the necessary film drama , "The Longest Day" used actors (bar one soldier/actor). Most events were filmed on location but  for example, the Ouistreham Casino was moved to Port en Bessin again for dramatic reasons!     

Hope this helps .. I'm lucky to live around 15 miles from St Mere Eglise so am able to visit these locations regularly.

Edited to add ... .Incidentally Facebook is a superb site for a lot of wild unsubstantiated claims to gather momentum .... treat with extreme caution!  I tend to replace the a and e with two other letters from the alphabet and treat it that way!

Regards Adrian



Only a few of the scenes were filmed in situ. Pegasus bridge, Ste mere Eglise and pointe du hoc.  Maj Pluskat was supposed to be at WN59. They showed the fire control position at Longues , then a studio for the interieur. As you mentioned, Riva Bella casino was filmed at Port en Bessin. The beaches were Ile de Ré and Corsica.
B
Colin McGarry
Normandy Tour guide
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jgawne
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jgawne
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Joined: February 26th, 2008, 11:30 am

February 28th, 2018, 9:18 am #7

I just saw this and have always wondered about this because of something I heard.  I have no idea what is being said on facebook, but this dates way back into the early 80's. 

There was a story I heard circulating in well known para fanatics back in the early 80's that Cornelius Ryan had gone to a 101st meeting in NYC while researching his book. At one point he asked if anyone had heard a story about a guy stuck on the church. Steele pops up and said "yeah, that was me" - and the legend was born. Now the way I was told made very clear that there was no evidence at all that it had been him, and that he was possibly just joking around, until it got picked up in Longest Day and became too big to back down from. 

So I would have to wonder if there is any evidence of it being him that predates 1959. 

I make no claims as to the veracity of this, just heard it from people that at the time new a lot more than I did about 101st stuff. But I know things happen in which stories or jokes take on a life of their own.  The recent incident of finding out that Morley Piper was not a Lt, was not in the 29th, and was not at D-day is an example of a small tale that grew and grew until he could not get out of it. 

Oddly enough I do remember a militaria show when someone brought in some of Steele's medal certificates which had been purchased at a local yard sale. No idea where they ended up, but I dare say they would raise a lot more interest today than back then. At the time is was "just" US stuff. Who cared about that? 
'but then, what do I know."
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arjones
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Joined: November 13th, 2014, 3:01 pm

February 28th, 2018, 4:38 pm #8

I would not wish to comment about Morley Piper but am able to say that I regularly guide clients around St Mere Eglise and you can find his medals on display in the excellent museum along with a bunch of photos taken in the 50s and 60s where he was returning to a warm welcome from the locals. I think he was also involved in the making of the film "The Longest Day".. see earlier comments re that film. I can check that when I am next in St Mere this saturday.
Regards Adrian
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cpmac
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cpmac
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Joined: November 18th, 2009, 4:49 am

March 1st, 2018, 3:04 am #9

Why would Steele be at a 101st reunion. He was 82nd.
There is the testimony of 2 Germans who took him down, Rudolph May and Adolph Stern. 
Colin McGarry
Normandy Tour guide
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jgawne
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jgawne
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Joined: February 26th, 2008, 11:30 am

March 1st, 2018, 8:25 am #10

cpmac wrote: Why would Steele be at a 101st reunion. He was 82nd.
There is the testimony of 2 Germans who took him down, Rudolph May and Adolph Stern. 
My error- It was "a unit  reunion" , my brain glitched.    but I make no claims to its accuracy, just that this was the story going around back then.   
'but then, what do I know."
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