Missing WWII soldiers identified by DNA testing

Posted by: William Hobson on the 24.Sep.2010

More lost soldiers of World War II have been returned home after their remains were identified by DNA tests.

The Rockford Register Star reports that 24-year old Robert R Bishop, a second lieutenant in the 392nd Bombardment Group of the USAF, was last seen in April 29, 1944. During a mission in Hanover, Germany, Bishop's plane went down and for most of the past century his body remained undiscovered.

However, in 2003, a group of excavators in Europe uncovered the wreckage of his B-24 bomber and returned his body to the US military. Following seven years of processing, DNA tests conducted on the body were matched with samples provided by Mr Bishop's family on July 29th, 2009.

Finally, 66 years after his disappearance, the pilot has been laid to rest alongside his two brothers and two sisters at Greenwood Cemetery, Illinois. Bishop's niece Deborah Smith, who travelled from Alaska to the funeral in Illinois alongside 75 family members and military personnel, said the funeral was "the true definition of closure".

Additionally, another American soldier lost in the fighting alongside the Germany-Belgium border in 1945 was also identified by DNA testing this week.

A report from The Associated Press states that Pfc. James Konyud of Cleveland, Ohio, will be buried with full military honours this weekend in his former hometown. Konyud was reported missing on the first of January, 1945, during a series of battles between US and German forces in the Hurtgen Forest between September 1944 and February 1945.

Konyud's remains were discovered in 2007 by an explosives disposal team in Germany, who alerted the US military. A team of excavators from the US then found one of Konyud's ID tags near the site and his body was conclusively identified by a DNA test after being matched with samples from his brother and niece. 

According to WKYC.com, the remains of the former member of the 121st Infantry Regiment are being flown from Hawaii - where the DNA tests were conducted - to Cleveland this Friday.


Written by William Hobson

See all posts by William Hobson



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