Private John O’Neill was a member of
Company B 307th Airborne Engineer
(Combat) from the start in 1942.
O’Neill jumped in
Sicily, Italy then Normandy June 6, 1944.
O’Neill landed in
Drop Zone O with the 505th
Northwest of St. Mère-Église.
The First Battalion 505th
Parachute Infantry (along with the 3rd
Platoon of Company B 307th) first
objective was to take the east end of la
Fière Causeway southwest of St. Mère-Église.
They ran into an
upsized German Platoon at the
Manoir de la Fiere. As the 82nd
men spread out in front of the Manoir at la
Fière German Officer stepped outside and was
shot dead by Private O’Neill.
O’Neill said to Company B man Harry Northern
that he wanted the Lugar that Officer had.
He told O’Neill to wait but John jumped
right up and started moving towards the
Manoir. He took
two steps and dropped dead, killed by a
sniper who was in the house.
O’Neill was a veteran
of two Campaigns
yet he was only 20 years-old and sometimes
kids don’t think ahead. This was one of
those times sadly. The
O’Neill family received a letter from
General Gavin sent out in August.
All pertinent information is contained in
his Individual Decease Personnel File (IDPF) is attached to
this article including a picture of
This was the reason I
started doing research for Company B as my
Uncle from Company B was killed on the same
day in Normandy and was the same age, 20. I
found a post from
John’s Nephew in 2002 and reached out to
him. That is what started my research
looking for clues as to what had happened to
my Uncle. 21 years later and not much
closer to the answer of what killed him.
On the plus side I’ve
been able to help families in finding out
what happened to their loved ones so it all
more than evens out in the end.
With that in mind there
was another Company B O'Neill who was Killed
in Normandy. On July 3rd while
defusing a Teller Mine it exploded.
They only piece of his body they found was a
finger. That was taken to the Cemetery
by an Officer to verify that this was in
remains of Pfc Daniel J. O'Neill.
Here is the
IDPF for Pfc O'Neill as well as his
Headstone with his parents. If you
look at pdf page 6 of the IDPF you will see
that on the Disinterment Directive it states
that all bone structure is missing.
This goes along with the Missing in Action
Morning Reports that shows what happened to
the men who were Missing and the ones that
were killed including Pvt Hause who died as
a POW when shot in the head in the barracks.
The next thing to do is
to list all of the men from Company B who
were wounded in Normandy. Until then
enjoy the read.
Here is the link to the 68 men MIA Morning
Reports for Company B.
Brian N. Siddall
August 16, 2023