Saturday, 2 Dec 2023

Remains of WW2 fighter pilot located after 80 years thousands of miles from home

The remains of a missing US World War Two co-pilot have been discovered 80 years after his plane crashed, bringing his family "closure."

The team from Cranfield University in Bedfordshire travelled to Sicily to investigate the crash site of the bomber plane 2nd Lt Gilbert Haldeen Myers was in, which came down in July 1943.

The remains of the US Army Air Forces (USAAF) 27-year-old from Pittsburgh, were found along with wreckage from the plane and the finding now facilitates a full military honours burial, and also allows the family to receive any personal effects found.

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The university researchers said they were happy to provide "closure" to Myers' family.

He was one of 72,000 US personnel still unaccounted for from World War Two, according to the uni. He was on a mission in a B-25 Mitchell bomber from Tunisia to attack an aerodrome in Sicily, Italy, along with five others.

The bomber was shot down by anti-aircraft fire and landed about 1.5 miles (2.4km) from the aerodrome. Witnesses reported that one crew member bailed out before it crashed.

However, there were no survivors or any record of anyone being taken prisoner.

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In 1947, investigators conducted search and recovery operations near Sciacca aerodrome, but could not find him.

This time, twenty people from Cranfield meticulously examined tonnes of soil in the impact zone and in October, investigators revealed they had found parts of the wreckage and human remains belonging to 2nd Lt Myers.

His identity was then confirmed through DNA testing in the US.

Before Remembrance Day, he was laid to rest in St Petersburg, Florida, on 10 November, according to Cranfield University.

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