Janelle.us


Laurence P. Janelle
Aunt Marie spent some time and effort in the mid-1980s trying to find out as much as she could about what happened to Uncle Larry. She received at least 2 responses from men who served in the same unit as Larry and knew him. She also received a letter from a priest in the area near where his unit was dropped in the Normandy invasion.

All the information presented here is the result of her efforts. Thank you, Aunt Marie!

D-Day - Normandy

Larry's plane was supposed to drop them at Angoville to support the beach landings. But because of bad weather and confusion the night of the drop, they were dropped over the farm of the Artilly family in the town of Méautis, on the other side of Carentan.

Excerpt from a French book about the Parachutists on Ste. Mère-Eglise village (translated by Aunt Marie)

At Méautis there were 21 parachutists against 100 Germans

The 6 of June, 1944 at Méautis, south of Carentan, it was the servants on their way to milk the cows who discovered the parachutists. According to Abbot Lecointe there were 5 groups of parachutists in the commune. They were hidden on the farms or on the roads and were fed by the local people. The parachutists had extraordinary courage. Pastor Lacointe while going to visit a wounded man on the farm of Montmireil where there were 21, advised them not to go near the church as it was full of Germans. He received the following answer, "But it's precisely there we will go as it's the Germans we are looking for."
...
At the farm of Artilly, a Captain and 21 parachutists were hidden. The soldier, Laurence Janelle of the 501st, was the interpreter.
...



63 Harlem St.
Lowell, MA 01854

Dear Sister Louise,

Needless to say, I was really surprised when I received your letter yesterday. When I saw the return address, Janelle, I had a very strange feeling that you were related to my buddy and very dear friend Larry. I became a member of B Co. 501st in Tocoa, Georgia when the unit was activated and remained with B Co. all through the conflict.

The fact that we both spoke French sort of drew us together during our basic training. Larry was in the first platoon of Co. B and I was in the third platoon. Your brother was a very devout person, like myself he neither smoked or drank. We often attended Sunday services together. When we had a day off, which was not very often, we used to go to the city together. As our billets were always on the outskirts of town, we'd go to a movie or the USO club for coffee and donuts.

When we went into combat, the fact that we were in different platoons kept us apart. On D-Day we were in different planes. I never saw him again until we were withdrawn from France about 35 days after the initial invasion. During the invasion of Holland, it was the same way. I DO know that Larry was wounded in Holland and did not see him again until he rejoined us in Mourmelon??, France after his hospital stay.

Your brother was with B co. at Bastogne and contrary to what you were told, he was NOT killed in Bastogne. I know it will hurt you to read this, but I am just complying with your wishes for information about your brother.

After the Battle at Bastogne we were moved to a little town of Meulary(?) in Alsace Lorraine in France, on the Moder River. On Feb. 1st as part of our over all plan, the 101st was ordered to attack across the Moder River. B Co. of 501st R. would spearhead the attack with the 1st and 3rd platoon in the lead. (Larry was besides a squad leader.) At about 3 A.M. in the morning, following a tremendous artillery barage by our forces, four pontoon bridges were put across the Moder River and B Co. began its attack across the river to a town called Mertzwiller. This was just to be a diversionary action. The main attack (assault) would be made farther down the river to the Mazeou(?) Forest region.

Our objective was - reach the town of Mertzwiller; capture prisoners and raise as much havoc as possible. We were to start our withdrawal back to Meulory(?) by 5 A.M. and be back across the Moder by 6 A.M.. But it was during this withdrawal that B Co. was hit by German guided(?) attack with heavy artillery fire that was zeroed in along a wall near a factory. This is where 8 B Co. men, including Larry, were hit.

In closing may I say your brother Larry was a damn good soldier and I am proud to say he was my friend.

Ernest "Frenchy" Lambert.



From:
Marshall C Hays Lt. Col. Ret.
P.O. Box 829
Okanogan, Wash. 98840

Dear Sister Louise:

Just a short note to thank you for the information you sent; I would like to keep it. I never knew the operation we participated in that night was called "Oscar" and I found the map and written account very interesting.

As I recall activities of that night - we departed positions in the vicinity of Neubourg around midnight. The snow was about one foot to around 18 inches deep and we had to cross an open field (approx. 200-300 yards) before arriving in wooded area around Neubourg Station.During the day before the weather had warmed and the snow was melting. The heavy snowsuits we wore were almost unbearably warm. We crossed the Moder River a bridge constructed by U.S. Army Engineers. We accomplished our mission and as we began our return, it began to get light. We banded (?) up a bit when we again arrived at the Moder R.. The ice broke when several men got on it at the same time but finally we all got across. As we approached our lines German artillery and mortar file increased and we were caught in the open. Mortar fire caught my platoon as we moved along a wall around a farmhouse. Unfortunately several men were killed and Larry was one of them. It was not in daytime. My platoon at that time consisted of only 12 - 15 men. Larry was sincerely missed by all remaining members of the platoon and company. I specifically remember one man - "Lucky" Lieberman, the platoon medic - whom I found sitting by himself with tears in his eyes. They were tears of frustration because of his inability to have done more than he did for Larry.

I am retired now and own a 15 acre apple and pear orchard. Work hard but enjoy the peace and quiet. Hope all is well with you and yours and Larry's family. Sorry I couldn't provide more information.

Sincerely,
Marsh



Neubourg is near Dauendorf on this map.



Memorial from Epinal Burial Site