Local Hero Noel Dube - The Greatest Generation

Every once and a while we come across a true hero.  The announcement below is about just such a person and it is somehow appropriate that his death is near Memorial Day.  Please allow me a moment of your time to talk about a friend, a member of the Greatest Generation, Noel Dube of Pepperell, but who lived in Maine and will be buried in Rollinsford.  He was active in the Knights of Columbus in Nashua.

Noel Dube was a member of the Greatest Generation.  He often told the story of literally messing himself (his words are a little more explicit J) on June 6, 1944 approaching Omaha beach.  He took out his Rosary and prayed.  As he says, he prayed so hard that he heard no noise until they landed.  His entire landing craft landed, unscathed, a real miracle in the hell that was Omaha Beach.  Indeed his squad did not lose a man until after the war.  He continued in combat and occupation until February 1945 when he lost a leg saving others clearing a mine filed.

Back to Normandy.

In that landing craft he made a promise to Our Lady that he would build Her a shrine if he survived. Noel fought and received a Silver Star for his actions that stormy day. In the movie “The Longest Day” the Combat Engineer died. Noel, was the model and field advisor for that movie scene. A little ‘director’s liberty’ for the composite character that finally blew open the barbed wire gap in the seawall defenses. The news report below says a lot more than a Bangalore Torpedo was involved, about 10 cases of high explosives set against the reinforced concrete of the Atlantic Wall itself. Cornelius Ryan describes that one act in great detail in his book.  Sgt. Dube opened the door for the troops to get off the beach.

When he returned to Pepperell, MA, Noel built a shrine on his property, It got bigger and bigger and more and more people came to visit. The tiny town tired to shut him down because of traffic, congestion, unauthorized lighting, unauthorized statutes, you name it. Noel prevailed and the Shrine, unapproved though it is, continues. The Greatest Generation indeed! Noel Dube was 91 at the time of his death.

They, the men and women who fought and died to save the world from the disease of fascist socialism, are passing. Let us take a little time this week to remember those who fought in all the wars and pray God receive them into His Mercy.

A little history http://extras.lowellsun.com/lowellsun/dday/Dube.htm

Sgt. Noel Dube

Sgt. Noel Dube

Noel Dube, 84, a lanky Maine native now of Pepperell, said "the power of prayer" saved his life. He appears in the book, The Longest Day, the late Cornelius Ryan's landmark account of the invasion. As American ships homed in on the Omaha Beach , the crews were instructed, in the interest of meeting their schedules, to ignore allied soldiers in the sea whose ships had been sunk or upended.
"In another boat nearby," wrote Ryan, "Sgt. Noel Dube of an engineer battalion said the Act of Contrition." Dube thinks as many troops drowned as were killed from enemy fire.
When his unit, the 121st Combat Engineer Battalion of the 29th Infantry Division, landed, Dube was assigned to destroy the famed Atlantic Wall, a structure of concrete and steel devised by Adolph Hitler to block invading forces.
It took 10 cases of dynamite to bring down that section of the wall.
Dube returned to Normandy for the 45th and 50th anniversaries.
"When I go back, everybody knows me as the guy who blew up the wall."
Dube escaped D-Day without injury but was wounded on Feb. 23, 1945, while he was working to clear a minefield in Munich . Doctors had to amputate his left leg. After the war, he married, had 10 children, 24 grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and founded a religious shrine at his home.


The present arrangements are as follows

Military and Columbian Honors will be extended:


Tuesday May 25, 2010 2-4pm & 7-9pm

Hamilton McGaffigan Funeral Home

37 Main Street

Pepperell, Massachusetts 01463

Funeral Mass

Wednesday May 26 at11am

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church

28 Tarbell Street

Pepperell, MA 01463

Funeral Mass

Thursday May 27 (prior to internment)

Rollingsford, NH

(Complete details are not known)


'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of
   him, but because he loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton