Remains of US Service Member Accounted for 79 Years Later

Remains of US Service Member Accounted for 79 Years Later

( – The remains of a 21-year-old US Army Air Force staff sergeant who fell when his heavy bomber was shot down have finally been identified nearly 80 years later.

Franklin P. Hall served as a gunner on a B-24D Liberator heavy bomber dubbed “Queen Marlene.” His plane flew with the 66th Bombardment Squadron in Europe. It was shot down while flying over northern France in 1944 by Germany’s Luftwaffe. German soldiers found its crash site soon after and collected the remains of nine people.

However, Hall’s remains were classified non-recoverable in 1951 after they could not be accounted for. The American Graves Registration began searching for his and other missing soldiers’ remains in 1945. The remains of those found in the crash site were buried at Poix-de-Picardie in France. Two members of the plane’s crew still have not been accounted for. More than 150 similar planes went missing during the war, according to the American Air Museum.

However, the continued work and research of archaeologists and anthropologists eventually unearthed the remains of two more soldiers. Forensic testing confirmed that one of them was Hall. His remains had been buried at the Normandy American Cemetery and were exhumed in 2018 for testing. His identity was confirmed in July.

While Hall’s remains were lost for decades, his legacy survived. The Tablets of the Missing at Ardennes American Cemetery in France include his name. Since his remains have been discovered, officials will put a rosette next to his name on the register.

Historians at the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) have been investigating combat regions throughout Europe in hopes of finding the remains of American soldiers whose fates were never confirmed. They eventually discovered a possible link between Hall and the cemetery his remains were buried in, one that is dedicated to American soldiers who died in Europe during World War II.

Officials now plan to bury him in his hometown of Leesburg, Florida. No date for the burial has been released.

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