By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun
4:07 PM EDT, July 14, 2013
John G. "Jack" Cuthbert, a decorated World War II veteran who stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, died July 5 from a heart attack at his Rodgers Forge home. He was 93.
John Graham Cuthbert Sr. was born in Baltimore and raised on Barrington Road in Forest Park. After attending Calvert Hall College High School, he went to work as a salesman at Dafoe Motors, which was owned by his father.
He enlisted in the Army in 1941, and served with the Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, of the 29th Division's 175th Infantry Regiment.
On D-Day, Mr. Cuthbert's unit landed later on June 6, 1944, in support of the 115th Infantry.
"The 116th and 115th were in the initial wave and they got cut up real bad," Mr. Cuthbert told The Baltimore Sun in a 1998 interview.
"We had to swim to shore. We swamped. We got hit. A couple of 'em didn't make it. Utter confusion prevailed on the beach," he said. "Nobody knew what was happening. Utter chaos. Dead laying around, dead washing up in the water. You had to actually pull the bodies out of the water to get ashore."
After landing, Mr. Cuthbert was engaged in continual combat for the next 44 days, which came to an end ironically at a place called Purple Heart Hill, when a German .88 mm shell landed near him.
After recuperating from his wounds in England, he rejoined the 29th, which by that time was racing into Germany.
Mr. Cuthbert's decorations included two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star with two oak leaves and a V for Valor, after he rescued several wounded soldiers near St. Lo., and the Combat Infantryman's Badge.
Recalling the events of that tumultuous day at Normandy, Mr. Cuthbert told the newspaper in a subsequent interview in 2002 that he had been "scared to death."
Mr. Cuthbert, who was discharged with the rank of staff sergeant in 1945, returned to Normandy twice and was present for the 50th D-Day anniversary.
"I don't like to elaborate on the war. It's done and it's over and it's history," he said. "It still haunts me at times."
Mr. Cuthbert returned to civilian life and worked selling cars at Chesapeake Cadillac for many years, said his wife of 40 years, the former Betty Hinton. He later worked in the mail room of the old Maryland National Bank, from which he retired in 1992.
He was an active member of the 29th Division Association and enjoyed attending their annual reunions.
"He loved those conventions because he could connect with people who could connect with him," his wife said.
The longtime Hopkins Road resident enjoyed vacationing in Ocean City.
Services will be held at 11:30 a.m. Monday at the Garrison Forest Veterans Cemetery, 11501 Garrison Forest Road, Owings Mills.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Cuthbert is survived by a son, John G. "Jay" Cuthbert Jr. of Sykesville; a daughter, Jan C. Klunk of Hunt Valley; a stepson, Russell Gamewell of Parkville; a stepdaughter, Lee Medairy of Towson; and four grandchildren. His first wife, the former Mary DiNatale, died in 1957.
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