Our campaign this year marks the 80th Anniversary of D-Day.  We pay tribute to all who gave their lives that day, securing our freedom.   During the year we will be highlighting the contributions made by the animals, not just on this poignant day but throughout the Second World War.  Remarkable accounts of bravery and loyalty. This is just one of them..
Private Emile Servais Corteil and his Para Dog Glen the Alsatian, A Company, 9th (Essex) Parachute Regiment, were killed as they took part in the D-Day landings in Normandy.
Glen had been trained to jump ahead of Private Corteil. He wore a special harness with small parachute and a red light attached, and after landing he had to lie on his parachute and wait for his handler – Private Corteil being the only person from whom he would take orders. His job then was to stand stock still to warn of anyone approaching or being nearby.
One of the 9th Battalion’s objectives was to take the German battery at Merville-Franceville, the site of guns to be used against the allied troops on the landing beaches. Strong winds, poor visibility and deliberate flooding by the Germans of the area, were to prove catastrophic.
The 9th Battalion suffered the loss of 192 men, most of them drowning in the flood waters; many others came down far from the landing site, which left approximately 150 to storm the battery before the landings began.
Private Corteil and Glen landed a few miles from the target area, along with Brigadier James Hill of 3rd Parachute Brigade, and over three dozen of his men. They marched towards the target area, but on the way were hit by an aerial bombardment intended for the Germans. All but the Brigadier and a couple of his men were killed, including Glen and Private Corteil. Found several days later by a search party they were found lying together in a bomb crater, Private Corteil still holding Glen’s leash.
Those who knew them spoke of the strong trust and affection between them, and of their inseparable bond. Glen and Private Corteil are buried together in the Ranville War Cemetery in Normandy. On their headstone are the words, “Had you known our boy you would have loved him too, “Glen” his paratroop dog was killed with him”.
Emile, from Watford, was 19 years old’ ????????????