The Second World War left a toll of some 60 million victims. Many experts and scholars put that amount at 100 million. That chilling statistic includes missing people, whose remains were never found. The then Soviet Union, now Russia, had more than 4 and a half million missing. Germany reported more than 2 million and Japan 810 thousand. The news is that they found the remains of a pilot missing in World War II.
They found a World War II pilot who had been missing since 1943
The United States was part of the allied forces, and still has 72 thousand soldiers missing. Many of them were pilots who were lost with their aircraft. One of them is the one they found recently, after 80 years of having been killed by enemy fire.
It was in the summer of 1943 when Second Lieutenant Gilbert Haldeen Myers took off with his B-25 Mitchell bomber from North Africa (Tunisia). The mission was to attack the Sciacca airfield in Sicily, Italy and return to base.
Although it did not reach its objective due to anti-aircraft fire that shot it down. They never heard from Myers and his crew until now, when they found his remains. They were able to identify them thanks to today’s specialized forensic practices.
They continue searching for those missing from the conflict
Those who carried out the search and investigation belong to the British Conflict Victim Recovery Team, belonging to Cranfield University. The United States Prisoner of War and Missing in Action Accounting Agency (DPAA) worked alongside the British group.
The goal of the two research groups is to bring closure to families who lost people in the global conflict. Of the 72 thousand missing people reported by this country, there is hope of finding and recovering about 39 thousand.
Investigators conducted a thorough inspection of the site where Myers’ B-25 was shot down. Using techniques such as wet screening to separate the human remains from the plane’s artifacts, they managed to rescue the evidence.
They then sent the human remains to the DPAA laboratory for DNA analysis. In addition to this analysis, the British team sent their colleagues anthropological and circumstantial evidence to certify that the remains corresponded to Myers. Along with the human remains, pieces of the downed B-25 were also extracted, recovered from the difficult terrain where the ship crashed in Sicily.
The remains of the American pilot are buried in Saint Petersburg, in the state of Florida. Pilot Myers appeared on the Wall of the Disappeared in the cemetery that the United States has in Sicily. From now on, a badge on his badge will mark his location and that, 80 years later, they found his remains.