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Showing results for tags 'family story of one of the 1st black paratrooper behind enemy lines'.
Hey everyone.. Wanted to share this family members story with you all. It's a special one to me. Very proud of him .. Wish I could of met him. Sergeant Sidney Cornell, from Portsmouth, was a paratrooper in the 6th Airborne Division of the British Army during World War II and landed in occupied France on June 6 1944 as part of Operation Deadstick. The film Paratrooper tells how he was the first black soldier to be dropped behind enemy lines that day and was tasked with running messages between military headquarters after radio communications failed. This was one of the most dangerous jobs during the war, especially on D-Day when it was unclear where German soldiers might lie in wait. Sgt Cornell bravely spent all day weaving to and fro and penetrating enemy lines, while being shot at, to deliver vital information to the front line. He had to kill at least one German soldier to survive during his missions that day. During another operation a few weeks later he was again tasked with relaying messages and was shot twice by enemy machine gun fire, but struggled onwards and was still able to relay crucial communications despite injuries his arm and carry on fighting He was wounded four times during operations but completed every mission and was never evacuated. In another notable episode, he and his Major carried out a two man hunting mission where they tracked and killed snipers who had been picking off men over an orchard. In recognition of his bravery and professionalism throughout the Normandy campaign, Cornell, was promoted from Private to Sergeant and awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. However, Sgt Cornell sadly died at the age of 30, just two weeks before the end of the war during Operation Varsity. He and 25 other men were crossing a bridge in the German town of Neustadt when it was blown up by two Nazi youths no older than 15 years old. Sgt Cornell was part of the 7th Parachutist Battalion. Of its 300 men he was one of just three black soldiers.