Dr. Stagg recounts Normandy Invasion

Dorchester Banner/Dave Ryan
Cambridge Rotary Club member Dr. Paul Stagg gave a presentation Thursday in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Normandy Invasion during the Second World War.

CAMBRIDGE — The 75th anniversary of the Normandy Invasion during the Second World War, also known as D-Day, was recalled in a presentation by Dr. Paul Stagg at a meeting of the Cambridge Rotary Club on June 6. Dr. Stagg showed maps and photos of the sea-borne invasion in 1944, which brought American, British and Canadian soldiers and other allies to the beaches of Nazi-occupied France.

“What was the cost?” he asked his fellow club members. “In terms of people, there were some pretty serious losses on the first day.”

As one example, he said a single cemetery in Normandy now has 9,000 graves. “It’s a horrible cost,” he said.

After the bloody fighting on the first day, Allied troops moved inland to secure the beachhead. Later in the summer, they broke out of Normandy and moved quickly through the rest of France, to the German border for the final stages of the war.
D-Day, June 6, 1944, was a turning point in the war, he said, when the forces opposing Nazism firmly gained the upper hand.

“I just felt that we should do a remembrance to honor those who died, and to appreciate the lives of all who took part,” he said. He also noted that this anniversary might be the last one to have significant numbers of veterans still alive – a man who was 20 at the time is 97 now.

Dr. Stagg did his part in the war, as well. Though he was a bit too young for the draft in 1944, the following year he served in the Merchant Marine on a Liberty Ship in the Pacific.

“It had to be done,” he said.

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