The longest and most deadly and destructive naval battle in history raged across the Atlantic Ocean for more than five years, from 1939 through May of 1945, with the loss of more than 3,000 Allied and Axis merchant ships, warships and submarines, and more than 80,000 lives. The very last chapter of the epic Battle of the Atlantic took place just off the Cape Elizabeth coast, resulting in the loss of the last U.S. Navy warship, the last German U-boat, and the last American flagged merchant ship to be lost in the Eastern Sea Frontier during the war. Join Thomas Memorial Library and the Cape Elizabeth Historical Preservation Society as we welcome maritime historian Paul Lawton, who will discuss the secret history behind the sinking of the USS Eagle 56, including how his research resulted in the belated issuance of 51 Purple Heart medals, 49 posthumously, to the officers and crewmen killed and injured aboard the ship off the Cape Elizabeth coast in 1945. This program will take place in the library’s Community Room. All are welcome!
About Paul Lawton
Paul Lawton is an attorney, author and naval & maritime historian who has published several books on naval warfare and the Battle of the Atlantic, and has been featured in a number of History Channel, PBS, and Smithsonian Channel documentaries since the 1990s. After working with the U.S. Naval Historical Center researching several Post War Battle Assessments or so-called cold cases involving the mysterious losses of U.S. Navy ships and aircraft during World War II, Lawton was successful in getting the Secretary of the Navy to change the official cause of a U.S Navy warship – the USS Eagle 56 – from an accidental boiler explosion, to a combat loss due to enemy action, resulting in the belated issuance of 51 Purple Heart medals, 49 posthumously, to the officers and crewmen killed and injured aboard that ship off the Cape Elizabeth coast in 1945.