Saturday 23 September 2017

'I made it all up' - Celebrated D-Day 'hero' (96) confesses he was actually in Ireland at the time

George Klein had actually been in Northern Ireland at the time of the D-Day landings. Overlord/Facebook
George Klein had actually been in Northern Ireland at the time of the D-Day landings. Overlord/Facebook
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

An American World War Two veteran has confessed that he was never actually involved in one of the most dangerous D-Day missions, despite being celebrated for taking part in it.

For decades, George Klein (96) has been praised as a "hero" for taking part in one of the most dangerous D-Day missions, scaling the 100-foot cliffs of Pointe du Hoc as a member of the elite 2nd Ranger Batallion.

Mr Klein was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star medals by the US military and the Legion of Honour by the French.

This year, the D-Day Overlord association raised €4,000 in crowdfunding to bring him to France from his home in Illinois.

He travelled to Normandy for the the 73rd anniversary of the Allied landing at Pointe du Hoc where the association said he signed "hundreds of autographs" and was praised for his "kindness".

However, caught out by historians a few weeks after he returned to the US, Mr Klein was forced to admit that he never took part in the Pointe du Hoc battle.

In fact, during D-Day he had actually been in Northern Ireland with the B Battery of his artillery regiment.

"George Klien arrived in Normandy until July 1944, Marc Laurenceau, head of the Overlord D-Day association, told the French newspaper La Renaissance Le Bessin.

"I'm in contact with his family with whom I have become friends. They are devastated," he said. "So are we, as we believed his story. We put in a lot of effort to get him to Normandy."

However, the Overlord D-Day association are still supportive of Mr Klein and said he should "not be ashamed of his real contribution to the liberation of Europe".

He was seriously wounded in combat in the Moselle region during the Lorraine Campaign on November 17 1944.

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