On 16 August 1944 the Americans believed the Germans were using the cathedral as an observation post. It was thus about to be shelled to bits when Col. Welborn Barton Griffith, accompanied by a single enlisted man (his driver), entered the German-occupied town. They got to the cathedral and climbed to the top of the bell tower. Finding no Germans inside, the colonel returned to his own lines and prevented the shelling. Later that day he was killed two miles north of the town.