Battledetective took part in this event that took place in the Place de la République in Carentan, Normandy on June 4th 2006. The organization of the 2nd Brothers in Arms March, in which four of us also participated, organized the finish of the march in the form of a re-enactment of the June 20th 1944 Award Ceremony in Carentan.

This picture courtesy of the Presse de la Manche; the Normandy Newspaper as it appeared in their June 5 2006 issue.


Page 108 of Mark Bando's book "Vanguard of the Crusade" reads:  

"The big event in Carentan took place on 20 June when an awards ceremony was held in the town square in front of the WWI monument. German artillery fire interrupted the ceremony twice, killing a small French girl." 


That girl was 3 year old  Danielle Laisney, who had presented flowers to the decorated veterans. Her Mother, Madelaine Laisney, was present during the re-enacted ceremony this year and so was combat medic Robert Wright of the 501st. It was Wright who had tried to save Danielle but the girl died in his arms. This story was explained to us by historian Michel Detrez in his speech in both French and English on the parachute-clad stand on the Carentan square. Madeleine Laisney and Robert Wright met again that day after 62 years!


This is a picture of the children who presented flowers to the decorated veterans. Judging from the posture of the children, we assume 3-year-old Danielle is on the far left and perhaps the lady accompanying her is her Mother:


       1944                                                                                                 Madeleine Laisney and Robert Wright  in 2006


Place de la République in Carentan in 2006


Compare the 2006 pictures with the original ceremony (US Army Signal Corps Photo #192602):

      This is Robert Wright in 2006                                                            ... and in the 1944 picture.

Also compare the color guard now and then-pictures:


The organization really had an eye for detail. For example, the MP's posted along the Carentan sidewalks. 

And the local kids, presenting gifts to the veterans:

Some more interesting comparisons are the positions of the detachments on the square:

And the detachment of the 327th Glider Infantry Regiment on the spot of 'our' platoon:


Professor John C. McManus of the University of Missouri-Rolla wrote this caption under the photograph depicted here in his article "At the Bayonet's Point" in the July/August issue of WWII Magazine:

"To mark Carentan's liberation on June 20th, 1944, Taylor ordered a formation of men from each of his regiments to assemble in the Place de la République for an award ceremony. The Germans had other ideas. As the ceremony got underway - and shortly after this little girl presented flowers to the American officers - mortar rounds began falling in the square, disrupting the proceedings and wounding the girl."

From British author-historian Ian Gardner we received this photograph:

The caption reads: "Carentan 20th June 1944 - during the second Silver Star Ceremony. This fantastic photo shows local girl Rolande Haugnard (her parents owned the flower shop in the square) holding four year old Danielle Laisney's hand as the crowd begins to disperse. Behind Rolande, talking to local dignitaries is Gen Max Taylor. Three days later Danielle was killed by enemy artillery fire while attending another Silver Star Ceremony in the square. Her mother never got over her daughters death and still has the blood stained ribbon and dress that you can see Danielle wearing in the photograph. c/o Jim Bigley "

Back to Commemoration Page


(c) 2007-Present Day Email: all rights reserved.