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Normandy invasion recalled

There is no centralized database of D-day survivors. Here are others in Greater Boston we found with the help of veterans groups and senior communities.

Paul Burke, 87, of Norwood

The Newton Highlands native served as coxswain on a landing craft, delivering troops from a large transport ship offshore to beaches in the British zone. Often under fire, he narrowly escaped death twice: once from shellfire while beached in Normandy, and the other time when a German sub torpedoed the ship ahead of his in a convoy crossing the English Channel. After the war, Burke worked for the Newton Public Works Department. He and his wife, Florence, raised three children, living first in West Newton and then Needham. They moved to Norwood last year. Boating is not among Burke’s hobbies.

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Herbert Colcord, 88, of Milton

Fierce fighting delayed the Quincy native’s landing on Omaha Beach until early morning June 7. Just over a week later, while in hedgerow country, Colcord was captured with his wounded squad leader after being cornered by fire from a German machine-gun nest. Colcord spent the rest of the war as a POW. After coming home, he worked in advertising and marketing. He and his wife, Audrey, raised three children in Randolph and now live in Milton’s Fuller Village. The squad leader, John Spurr, died soon after he was captured and was buried in his Plymouth hometown. Since they began courting in the late 1940s, the Colcords have tended Spurr’s grave. The two men had known each other barely five months.

Steve Maas can be reached at stevenmaas@comcast.net.
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