In May of 2015 a secret radio signalman’s nest of the 3111 Signal Service Battalion was discovered in a home in Carentan, France when a roof was being replaced. A virtual time capsule from 1944. A friend contacted Jean-Marie Caillard, a local WWII enthusiast, curator, museum owner and a man known in the region as one who does not profiteer from selling relics but someone who has a desire to share and show what he finds to honor his liberators. Over the course of three days, while on their lunch break, Jean-Marie and his son Gregoire rescued the abandoned items to save them from destruction and share them with the world. On the last day, Gregoire noticed some papers hidden under a broken floorboard. The letters reveled an even more secret story… Sgt. Robert Miller of the 3111 Signal Service Battalion spent days in that attic and stored his precious letters from home in the cracked floorboards. Jean-Marie tried in vain to reach anyone connected to the GI in the United States. He desperately wanted to uncover more of the story of the 3111 Sig Serv Bat and Sgt. Robert Miller so he could properly honor the heroes.
In September of 2017 TGWWF Director, Christian Taylor, was interviewing Jean-Marie for this documentary and was given a tour of the re-created radio signalman’s nest that Jean-Marie assembled to honor the 3111 Signal Service Battalion. As she learned about this story and examined the letters she discovered Sgt. Miller’s family lived not very far from her home. Her military mother’s heart was moved and she vowed to help Jean-Marie find Sgt. Robert Miller’s family. A vow she would keep.
In this video, Jean-Marie tells Christian about the letters for the first time. It is difficult for him to articulate just how grateful he is to the men who liberated his hometown nearly 75 years ago.
Wonderful history! My maternal grandfather, James J. Blessing, was in Company A of the 3111 Signal Service Battalion. I am not sure if he was at Carentan or not, although stories in told my mother which were then passed on to me make me think that he was there for the battle. I would be interested in contacting Sgt Miller’s family and Jean-Marie Caillard if possible to compare notes.