Corteil, Emile Servais, with his dog “Glenn” .

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Corteil, Emile Servais, born 1925 in London, as son of Servais and Jessie Amelia Corteil, Watford, Hertfordshire was a dog handler with the 9th Battalion Parachute Regiment File:Parachute Regiment cap badge.jpg of the 6th British Airborne Division, nickname “Red Devils” File:UK 6th Airborne Division Patch.svgthe 9th Battalion under command of Major General Eric Bols . Bols died at his home at Peppering Eye, near Battle, East Sussex on 14-06-1985, at the age of 81. The 6th Airborne under command of General Sir Richard Nelson “Windy” Gale General Sir Bernard Montgomery   (right) talking to Major-General Richard Gale and Brigadier Joseph Howard Nigel Nigel Poett. Both men had just been decorated by Lieutenant General Omar Nelson  “Brad” Bradley, commanding the U.S. First Army, on behalf of President Franklin D. Roosevelt at General Montgomery’s HQ in Normandy, 13-07-1944. Brigadier General Poett survived the war  and died 29-10-1991 (aged 84). General Sir Richard Nelson “Windy” Gale also survived the war and died 29-07-1982 (aged 86) in Kingston upon Thames, London, England.
In Ranville Cemetery, 2,567 victims are buried under pristine white stones. Behind the northern church wall there are also several fallen men from the first two days of the landing, including Lieutenant Den Brotheridge is known as the first soldier to die by enemy fire during D-Day. He was killed at Pegasus Bridge. A lone unknown German soldier is also buried here. To the east of the church is a town hall with library. At the end, near the library, there is a bust of Major-General Richard Nelson  “Windy” Gale. Gale, commander of the 6th Airborne Division, had flown in on the #70 glider around 3:30 a.m. and brought his headquarters to Ranville. Along the way, a stray white horse was confiscated and used by Gale. Later, the animal would inadvertently save his life by standing between Gale and a falling mortar round.
After nine days of fighting in Holland, the shattered remains of the 6th Airborne forces were eventually withdrawn south of the Rhine. The 1st Airborne Division, under command of Major-General Elliott Roy Urquhart , had lost 8.000 men during the battle and never saw combat again. Urquhart died on 13-12-1988, aged 87, Menteith, Perthshire, Scotland. Two American and one British Airborne divisions spearheaded the invasion of Normandy on D-Day . The 6th British Airborne Division was tasked to seize and hold the left flank of the British sea-borne assault due to land at dawn on the 6th June. It was to capture the Orne River and Canal bridges at Benouville, destroy the heavy German coastal battery at Merville overlooking the Orne Estuary and blow bridges across the flooded River Dives to the east to prevent German reinforcements moving against the Invasion bridgehead. Private Emile Corteil made the D-Day jump with his dog “Glenn” on the early hours of 6 June 1944 in the Orne River Valley to secure the flanks of the landings and knock out the Merville Battery which imposed a threat to the British landing beaches. Corteil and Glenn were among the many who missed their night time landing zone. Corteil, Glenn and the other Paratroopers were making their way to the rallying point to attack the Merville Battery.
He joined a group led by Brigadier Stanley “James” Edger Hill
   commanding officer of 3rd Parachute Brigade. Hill survived the war and died very old age 95 on 16-03-2006. The group began making their way from the drop zone, near Varaville, towards the Merville Battery and the area where 9 Parachute Battalion should be after their attack on the German battery. The Merville battery complex is located just south of Merville. The Allies were afraid that the 150mm guns of this battery would endanger the invasion fleet. It was the task of Lieutenant Colonel Terence Otway  and his 9th Battalion, belonging to the 3rd Airborne Brigade Group, to eliminate this object. Four hours after the paratroopers landed, Otway managed to reach the complex with 150 men. This was only 25% of the men who had jumped. The attack started at 4.20 am, which was very violent and bloody. Seventy men on the British side were killed or wounded. Of the German garrison, 20 were captured, the rest were killed or wounded. At 5am it was all over. The bunkers did not contain 150mm, but 100mm Skoda guns. These were eliminated. After Otway had moved his men, the battery was recaptured by the Germans. The next day the Germans were driven out again after bitter fighting around the casemates and in the tunnels connecting the bunkers.

Death and burial ground of Corteil, Emile Servais.

The Paratroopers were dogged by the flooded flat lands, German Patrols and travelling in the dark. The British Air Force had orders to strafe at any movement in certain areas along the Orne River Valley to keep the Germans in check and protect the Airborne Landings. The Paratroopers ended up in one of these areas that the British Pilots had orders to fire on. The British Paratroopers were attacked by friendly fire and Private Corteil, Glenn and other paratroopers were killed as well as some being wounded. Private Corteil and his dog “Glenn” are buried together. It is believed that this is the only war time grave burial with a dog handler and his dog.  It was later discovered that the aircraft that strafed them were Royal Air Force Typhoons on sorties to disrupt the enemy behind lines. Unfortunately, the pilot had mistaken the group of British paratroopers for a German patrol, resulting in the ‘blue on blue’ incident; or what is more commonly known today as ‘friendly-fire’. Three months later Brigadier James Hill ordered Major (later Lieutenant Colonel) Napier Crookenden , who had by that time taken over command of 9th Parachute Battalion after Lieutenant Colonel Terence Otway
  had been wounded, to send a party out to the lane where he had been wounded in an attempt to locate and bury the bodies of the dead. Napier Crookenden died on the 31-10- 2002 aged 87 and Terence Otway died also very old age 91 on 23-07-2006. Major Allen Parry Allen_Parry_1, commanding officer of A Company, went out with the party which included Captain, Rev John Gwinnett . The soldiers were soon found having been roughly buried in a bomb crater. Among them were private Emile Servais Corteil and his paradog Glen not far away on the Pegasus Bridge. Allen Parry died on 20-01-1992 and his brother, the Reverend George Edward Maule Parry age 29,  served with the 7th (Light Infantry) Parachute Battalion and was killed in 1944 in Normandy.
2nd Lieutenant Den Brotheridge
  at the age of 26, was killed as the first Allied soldier on D-day. Corteil died at the age of 19 and Emile and his dog are reburied on the war cemetery of Ranville, plot 1.
It is therefore quite unique that a dog is given to its companion. There is, however, an appreciation for animals that have committed themselves several times during wars. The highest award for British soldiers is Victoria Cross, for animals this is the Dickin Medal. The Dickin Medal was conceived by the founder of the PDSA (People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals) in 1943 to honor animals for their efforts. It is a bronze medal with the words “For Gallatry” and “We also Serve”. Until 1949 the medal was awarded to 32 pigeons, 3 horses, 1 (ship) cat and 18 dogs. In 2000 the medal was re-introduced and 11 dogs were added, plus 1 to the horses who had given their lives in the First World War. The last one was on a horse in 2016 that had helped American Marines by only delivering goods 51 times during the Korean War. Glen, the paradog, has not received a Dickin Medal, but does rest with his supervisor Emile Corteil.

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