There are so many tales of heroism from D-Day but one of the most touching is that of a young teenage paratrooper from Watford and his dog who died side by side and were found linked together by the animal’s lead.

Private Emile Corteil served as the dog handler for A Coy, 9th (Essex) Parachute Battalion and looked after ‘Para Dog’ Glen. Both took part in the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944 and safely completed their parachute descent. The 19-year-old was killed later that day by an Allied aerial assault and his faithful Alsatian died at his side. They were buried together at Ranville Commonwealth War Cemetery.

Pte Corteil is one of the 22,442 people under British command who died on D-Day and the Battle of Normandy honoured on the British Normandy Memorial. This was unveiled in Ver-sur-Mer yesterday on the 77th anniversary of the landings – and one reader is hoping the young solider can be honoured locally as well.

Simon Perry highlighted Emile Corteil and Glen’s story in the Watford Observer’s nostalgia Facebook group, ‘We grew up in Watford’, at the weekend and he is asking Watford Borough Council to consider erecting some form of permanent recognition or memorial to the pair in the town.

Emile Corteil and Glen. Picture:

Emile Corteil and Glen. Picture:

Simon, from Leavesden, said: “Their story is probably told to hundreds a week during the battlefield tour season. It's both tragic and heroic, given his age of just 19, coupled with the bravery involved and their participation in the largest invasion force ever assembled.”

Simon, who is interested in the D-Day landings and the individual stories of military and civilian personnel, first heard of Pte Corteil’s story during a visit to the Ranville cemetery and discovered the teenage paratrooper and his parents lived in Watford after conducting more research when he returned home.

He said: “Being born and bred in Watford I always keep an eye out for any connection with ‘my town’ on these visits to Normandy.

“I'm from Leavesden so I felt very honoured to have paid my respects at his graveside.

"On my next visit to Normandy, I would like to place a wreath at his grave from the people of Watford.”

Emile Corteils grave at the Commonwealth war cemetery at Ranville. Picture: Simon Perry

Emile Corteil's grave at the Commonwealth war cemetery at Ranville. Picture: Simon Perry

According to, Emile Servais Corteil was the son of Servais Corteil and Jessie Amelia Corteil from Watford.

The website published an article from Pegasus Journal, December 1989, recalling how the 9th Parachute Battalion had been given the job of storming the German Merville Battery, but many of its men had been scattered over a wide area away from their designated drop zone. These included Emile Corteil and Glen.

The Brigadier of Three Parachute Brigade, of which the 9th Parachute Battalion was part, landed nearby, got together as many of his men as he could and set out to march them towards where the brigade should have been fighting seven or eight miles away.

It was during this march that the party of around 40 men took the full weight of an Allied aerial assault, intended for the Germans defending the beaches. Most of the party were killed, including Emile and Glen.

The British Normandy Memorial at Ver-sur-Mer. Picture: PA

The British Normandy Memorial at Ver-sur-Mer. Picture: PA

Like other formations of the British army, airborne soldiers ‘looked after their own’ – alive or dead – so when the fighting had eased sufficiently, the article recalls how a party from the 9th Battalion went out to find and bury their dead.

It was then that Emile and Glen were discovered in a bomb crater, still joined by the dog’s lead, and they were later taken to Ranville to be buried alongside each other.

The epitaph on Pte Corteil’s headstone has added poignancy because it was written by his mother.

It reads: “Had you known our boy you would have loved him too. “Glen” his paratroop dog with his killed with him.”

Watford Borough Council has been approached for comment.