Wednesday, July 08, 2009

BBC NEWS | World | Europe | US veteran's D-Day lies exposed

BBC NEWS | World | Europe | US veteran's D-Day lies exposed

An American veteran who said he parachuted into Normandy as part of the D-Day landings in June 1944 has been exposed as a liar.

Howard Manoian, 84, had been awarded the prestigious French award the Legion d'honneur for bravery.

He claimed he had landed in Sainte-Mere-Eglise in France - the setting of a fierce battle immortalised in the John Wayne film The Longest Day.

But his military records reveal he spent the war behind the front line.

Mr Manoian was a local war hero in Sainte-Mere-Eglise, with a plaque erected in his honour.

He said he had served with the famous 82nd Airborne Division, and would tell vivid tales of his parachute mission.

"Even in the aeroplane I was wondering what it was going to be like. They are going to start firing at us when we get near the land," he said.

"One planeload jumped and landed in the square by the church and of course the Germans were already up and they were firing as they came down... Half of them were killed and wounded immediately. That was the first time I saw a person dead face to face."

War injuries

In fact Mr Manoian served with the 33rd Chemical Decontamination Company, which operated well behind the front line.

He spent most of the war looking after a supply dump in northern France after arriving on Utah beach by supply ship.

Mr Manoian claimed he had been hit by German machine gun bullets in the left hand and both legs during a fire fight on 17 June 1944, and then again by a Nazi plane that targeted the hospital where he was recovering.

In fact his only war injuries were a broken middle finger while on standby in England and then heavy bruising to another hand.

The lies came to light when military records were obtained by the Boston Herald.

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