WW II Mystery Airmen

WW II Mystery Airmen

     From time to time during World War II military aircraft were lost at sea.  Sometimes the loss was witnessed by fellow airmen, and other times a single aircraft went out on a mission and was never heard from again.  Such incidents happened all up and down the eastern seaboard of the United States.

     On occasion, the bodies of airmen lost on these missions would be found and recovered.  Unfortunately in some cases all identification such as wallet, dog tags, etc. would be missing, and the body in such an advanced state of decomposition that identification was impossible.  In a time when DNA testing did not exist, these servicemen were classified as “unknown” and buried pending any new information.   

     With a war on, and the rapid transfer of personnel, as well as many different commands and air stations that had planes and crew unaccounted for, attempting to match bodies with missing aircraft in a time without computers was virtually impossible.  

     The following information pertains to “unknowns” found in New England waters during World War II.  Perhaps there will be someone who will one day be able to figure out who these men were.   Keep in mind that ocean currents could have carried the bodies a considerable distance.    

     Case #1 involves the body of a U.S. Navy enlisted man recovered from Narragansett Bay, R. I. He’s described as a white male who “presumably drowned”.  The date he was recovered is not stated, but his remains were buried in Island Cemetery in Newport, R. I., August 14, 1943

Case #1 Click To Enlarge

Case #1
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     Case #2 involves a body recovered from the Atlantic Ocean on October 8, 1944, off Nantucket, Massachusetts, near a bell buoy.  The navy could not establish his identity, nor even his race.  The body was held until January 5th before it was buried in Elm Grove Cemetery, North Kingstown, R.I.   Cause of death was listed as “asphyxia by drowning” due to a “probable accident”.  The death certificate was field with the Rhode Island Department of Health January 5, 1945. 

Case #2 Click To Enlarge

Case #2
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Reverse Side - Case #2 Click To Enlarge

Reverse Side – Case #2
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