The difference between a great
story and a historically accurate one is the
documentation which is backed up by facts.
Before the main article;
Mrs. Guidry the widow of Sgt
Ray said that she didn’t know about what had
happened to her husband Sgt Ray until she read the
book D-Day: June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of
World War II by Stephen E. Ambrose.
I went and pulled down the book
and went to page 211 where Ken Russell a Co F man
spoke of Sgt Ray. In the book Russell stated that
he saw Sgt Ray get shot in the gut and while dying
shot the German who had shot him. The
only problem with that is that Sgt Ray didn’t die
until June 13, 1944, not June 6, 1944. I then went
to the Endnotes of the book and it stated that this
information came from a Ron Drez interview with Ken
This is the problem with just
taking the word of someone without doing fact
checking. Ambrose and by extension Drez shouldn’t
have put that into the book. If you can’t prove
your work it shouldn’t have been in a non-fiction book.
Now on to the Louis Levy
1st Lt Louis Levy
was an enigma for many years while researching the
507th Prcht Inf and Co D in particular.
Co D was the smallest group of men from a Company
I’d interviewed over the years for the 507th
Prcht Inf. The information I had about 1st
Lt Levy was from the Marshall Regimental Unit Study
Number 5 and Captain Creek from Co E. Captain Creek
for years said the 1st Lt Levy had been
killed June 15, 1944 during the battle of la
Bonneville. It was an interesting story but I could
never use the information because I couldn’t verify
what Captain Creek had said.
In early 2008 I located the
Weekly Burial Reports for Normandy.
It had 1st Lt Levy's burial listed as July
5, 1944 which didn’t jive with Captain Creek’s
account. I then ordered the IDPF for 1st
Lt Levy which arrived a few months later.
That had July 5, 1944 listed in all of the
documentation as it pertained to his death.
In July of 2008 I interviewed
Holtan a member of Co D. Mr. Holtan
had a massive amount of information about Co D from
the States until the end of the war. One piece of
information was about 1st Lt Levy. It
contradicted Captain Creek’s version of what
transpired in the death of 1st Lt Levy.
I still couldn’t use what had happened to 1st
Lt Levy’s death because there was no documentation
to back it up. I had no doubt that Mr. Holtan was
fact correct, but it wasn’t enough.
In 2009 I located the Morning
Reports for the 507th Prcht Inf between
April and July of 1944. On the July Morning Reports
it showed 1st Lt Levy dying on July 5,
I also located on the Morning Reports for Hq Co 2nd
Bn. 1st Lt Walter F. Keenan was the
Mortar Platoon Leader for Hq Co 2nd Bn.
In the Morning Reports and the IDPF it showed him
being wounded June 15, 1944
and dying 3 days later.
I then revisited Captain
Creek’s story about the death of a 1st Lt
who was hit by shrapnel on the date of June 15,
1944. The officers had been at the CP when the
Mortar hit them.
Captain Creek stated that a 1st
Lt had been hit in the gut and died half an hour
later. He said he kept asking for water but they
couldn’t give it to him because of the stomach
Captain Creek had always named
1st Lt Levy as the man killed that day.
When I contacted Mr. Creek about this information I
mentioned all of the documentation about what had
happened that day. He said “You can’t always
believe documentation”). This was a man who didn’t
like admitting he had made a mistake. There was no
doubt that the man who was wounded on June 15, 1944
and died three days later was 1st Lt
Keenan, not Levy. In one of my articles back then I
did list the death of 1st Lt Keenan and
what had happened to him.
I still couldn’t verify what had happened to 1st Lt
I set aside the Levy article as
I couldn’t list what had happened to him without
some more documentation. As mentioned a few months
ago I ran across the information about the death of
Sgt Ray and the error by Ambrose in the D-Day book
and the Headstone in Normandy. After finishing the
Ray events I then revisited the death of 1st
Lt Levy. I then found the last piece of the puzzle
and could prove Mr. Holtan’s narrative from 2008.
Here is 1st Lt Levy's time in the 507th
Prcht Inf in Normandy.
1st Lt Louis Levy
joined the 507th Prcht Inf April 6, 1944
and became the 2nd Platoon Assistant
Leader for Co D.
The 507th Prcht Inf was attached to the
82nd Abn Div for Operation Neptune.
The 507th jumped into Normandy at 0232
hours the morning of June 6, 1944.
1st Lt Levy and the rest of Co D landed
in and around DZ T itself.
They were the first planes into Normandy for the 507th
The first mention of 1st
Lt Levy is in the official documentation
Marshall Regimental Unit Study
Number 5. Levy and 30 men underneath him ran into
Lt Col Timmes and his group of 30 men. They were
northwest of Church at Cauquigny around daybreak.
Lt Col Timmes’ group moved out towards Amfreville
with 1st Lt Levy. The plan was to divert
the Germans while the main force attacked Amfreville.
Timmes hadn’t forgotten the
west end of the la Fierè Causeway either. At
midmorning he calls in 1st Lt Levy and
tells him to take 10 men southwest back to the
Church at Cauquigny and capture the ground around it.
The narrative by S.L.A. Marshall can be viewed here
along with the maps. 1st Lt Levy is the
key part of this Unit Study.
1st Lt Levy is also mentioned at the end
of the Study mentioned in the last paragraph in
leading Co B 325th Gli Inf in the attack
on June 9, 1944.
1st Lt Levy was
killed July 5, 1944 in the battle for la Poterie
Ridge, Hill 131.
This is where Mr. Holtan’s narrative comes into play
along with the Surgeon Generals’ Report showing the
type of wound Levy suffered.
Here is the narrative from Mr. Holtan;
“Lt Levy was hit by a sniper in
thigh. I pulled him to cover then tried to find the
bleeding. I took off his lower uniform and saw that
his thigh was swollen and bleeding. I tried to stop
the bleeding but couldn't. Lt Levy died while I
worked on his wound”.
It has been 7 ½ years since I
first heard this from Mr. Holtan and read both the IDPF
and Weekly Burial Reports. The last piece of the
puzzle was found and could authenticate the rest of
the narrative and documentation. The CASUALTY
RECORD(S) shows that 1st Lt Levy was hit
in the groin and bled to death. There are certain
types of wounds that usually can’t be repaired.
One is the Femoral Artery when shredded, the bleeding
contained. That is what happened to
1st Lt Levy that day July 5, 1944 who was
buried at the Blosville Cemetery July 8, 1944 in
plot I-09-161 (highlighted
After starting again on the
Levy article I discovered that the DAV (Disabled
American Veterans) Chapter 11 in Yuma, Arizona is
named after Louis Levy. I reached out to Bryan D.
Lutze the Commander of this Chapter. He was nice
enough to send along a photo of 1st Lt
Louis Levy that hangs on the wall at the DAV.
Because 1st Lt Levy came into the Company
in April of 1944 there was no picture of him in
the 507th Prcht Inf 1943 Yearbook.
When speaking with Bryan he
said that the Levy family rents the hall sometimes
at the DAV. I hope to get in touch with a family
member of 1st Lt Levy as in the Personal
Effects sent home after his death was a few photos
and 41 letters. It would be interesting to follow
from induction to the day he became part of Co D 507th
Prcht Inf. I have also attached all of the
documentation of his time in the 507th
Prcht Inf and his injury on July 5, 1944.
It has taken 9 years to get to
this point and it was well worth it. From reading
the reports after Normandy 1st Lt Levy
would have been a valuable asset to the 507th
Prcht Inf and to the 82nd Abn Div as
Brian N. Siddall
December 12, 2015