Fort Miles volunteers honor D-Day heroes

40 Delawareans made the ultimate sacrifice at Normandy
June 7, 2023

During the Battle of Normandy in 1944, which began with the June 6 D-Day invasion along the coast of France, 40 Delawareans were killed. Those casualties included two Milton soldiers, William S. Marvel and Robert Layton Short. 

On June 4, the Fort Miles Historical Association paid tribute to those heroes with its second annual D-Day Memorial Ceremony at the overlook outside the museum.

Taking part in the ceremony were FMHA’s Will Short, master of ceremonies; Lt. Gregg Gause, Korean veteran and chaplain; Cape student Amelia Bickel, trumpeter; Lani Spahr, bagpiper; and bell ringers Nicholas and Christian Schimmel, grandsons of the late Gary Wray, FMHA founder and museum advocate.

Navy Capt. David Diefenderfer read Gen. Dwight Eisenhower’s letter to D-Day troops, while guest speaker FMHA World War II historian Ed Paterline told the story of the 29th Division, the only National Guard unit in the Battle of Normandy.

Delaware Honor Roll readers included association members Ron Ruksznis, Jeff Romans, Jim King and Rich Rohde.

There was also a flyover thanks to Dover Air Force Base.

On display inside the museum was a chaplain’s kit used by the Rev. Morris Arnold, who went ashore on D-Day. He used the kit until 1945 in France when he was injured and sent home. He gave the kit to the Rev. Carol Flett, who donated it to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Lewes, where it is on display. 





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