Amazing story of first black paratrooper dropped behind enemy lines in Normandy

The untold story of the first black paratrooper to land in Normandy on D-Day is being made into a film.

Sidney Cornell showed extraordinary courage during missions in Nazi-occupied France and was shot four times.

He died two weeks before the end of the war, aged 30, when a bridge was blown up as his team were capturing it.

Now he is being played by Death in Paradise star Tobi Bakare, 30, in the upcoming movie Paratrooper.

Writer and director Lance Nielsen said: “The untold story of Sidney Cornell is an absolutely fascinating one to tell.

“He was the first black soldier to ­parachute into France.”

Sidney was born in Portsmouth to an African-American circus acrobat.

He joined the Parachute Regiment after the war broke out and was posted with B Company of the 7th Parachute Battalion.

Sidney was dropped behind enemy lines on June 6, 1944, and served as a runner, bravely carrying messages between military outposts under heavy machine gun and mortar fire.

Despite being wounded several times the married dad-of-two continued with his duties and was never evacuated.

He was promoted from Private to Sergeant and awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal in recognition of his heroics.

The citation on his military record says: “Very many acts of gallantry have been performed by members of the battalion but for sustained courage nothing surpasses Cornell’s effort.”

Filming for Paratrooper is currently taking place in England and France.

Executive producer Jason Flemyng – star of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels – said: “This is a film I really want people to get behind.”

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