A Visitor to Hell

« To make our visit special, I hired Normandy Heroes to provide us with a private tour focused specifically on my uncle’s experiences on the day of the invasion and the weeks that followed. Geert’s professionalism, intense focus on detail and his interest in and keen understanding of World War II history resulted in an experience I will never forget. He researched in remarkable detail all the information he could find on my uncle, his division and the path he took from the landing itself through his march through the Normandy countryside to the fateful and critical battle at Saint-Lô. I felt as though Geert knew my uncle intimately and the care and attention he gave to us was nothing short of remarkable. »
Steven Skorka, nephew of Pvt. Harry Parley
 

Private Harry Parley served in Company E, 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division. On D-Day, Pvt. Parley was given the arduous and dangerous task of carrying a flamethrower ashore. Landing on Omaha Beach in chest deep water and weighed down by his flamethrower, Pvt. Parley nearly drowned if it wasn’t for the help of an anonymous GI who pulled him ashore. It was here that Harry Parley became « a visitor to hell » as he would recall later. After surviving D-Day, Private Parley battled through the infamous hedgerows of Normandy all the way to Germany with the 29th Division, having earned two Purple Hearts, a Silver Star and a Bronze Star by the end of the war.

IMG_5441Steve Skorka with his uncle’s picture standing by the quote from his uncle, part of the exhibits at the Arromanches D-Day Museum

IMG_5714Steve Skorka talking to Michael Yannaghas, curator of the Madeleine Chapel in Saint-Lô, dedicated to the men of the 29th Infantry Division who liberated the city.