Home News ‘Leave no one behind’ pledge brings England a forest

‘Leave no one behind’ pledge brings England a forest


Overgrown with rhododendron bushes and tucked into a peaceful forest in eastern England, the black spot where the plane crashed has been the final resting place of a missing American pilot for 80 years.

Now a team led by a British archaeologist is carefully sifting through tangled branches, soil and dirt with a hopeful mission: to find the remains of a fallen World War II pilot and bring him home.

their help has been received a specialized unit of the Ministry of Defense Responsible for recovering the remains of tens of thousands of American service members who died as prisoners of war or were considered missing in action.

More than 72,000 Americans The U.S. Department of Defense’s POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) says hundreds of remains from World War II are still unaccounted for, but that number is slowly decreasing as the agency discovers and identifies more remains.

“They are still struggling to deliver on their promise to ‘leave no one behind,'” Cotswolds ArchaeologyIt is the team leading the excavation in Suffolk, eastern England. “This is very powerful for us.”

Ms. Price said the group hopes to find enough answers to bring comfort to the pilots’ relatives. “That’s our motivation: to remember these people and tell their stories,” she said.

In August 1944, pilots flew a B-17, the giant bomber known as the Flying Fortress, carrying 12,000 pounds of Torpex explosives. Ms Price said the controls failed and the plane crashed into trees. The explosive exploded on impact.

Ms Price declined to name the pilot and said his body had never been found. She said local historians searched the crash site for wreckage in the 1970s. The DPAA did not immediately respond to a request for further details.

The search by Cotswold Archaeology, which began this month and will last six weeks, will be more extensive. The team will dig a crater nearly 10 feet deep at the crash site and will use metal detectors to search a nearby two-acre area divided into smaller grids.

She said about 60 volunteers, including current and former British military personnel, would help with the painstaking work of carefully sifting through the soil in each grid, searching for aircraft wreckage or human remains. (A spokesman for the Ministry of Defense confirmed that military personnel and veterans would help next week, with some an initiative Serving wounded, sick and injured service members.)

We don’t want to miss anything,” Ms. Price said. She said if remains are found, they would likely be returned to the United States, where the Defense Aviation Agency would use DNA analysis to formally identify the pilot.

Since the excavation began, the team has discovered switches, tire fragments and pieces of aircraft fuselage.

Ms Price said searching the crater, which is flooded and filled with decades of sediment, would be a challenge. She said the force with which the plane struck the soft soil meant key components could be buried deep beneath the surface.

But despite these challenges, a colleague recently made a great point when she said, “This is a nearly impossible task, but the significance of it is that we keep trying despite the challenges.”

At the height of the war, as many as 500,000 U.S. Army Air Forces were stationed in Britain, flying and maintaining the fleet of aircraft that attacked Germany. According to the Imperial War Museum. about 30,000 Died on takeoff from UKThousands of men were stationed at rural airfields in East Anglia (including Suffolk), many of them flying B-17s.

Other Defense Department searches are ongoing: A French team is Search for three missing pilots During the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944, his plane was shot down by German anti-aircraft fire.

This month, the DPAA said it had identified the remains of several World War II service members, including two young men who died after being captured in the Philippines.

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