An East Tennessee World War II veteran’s remains have been officially accounted for, over 70 years after he was killed in battle.
Army Pfc. William F. Delaney, 24, of Kingston, Tennessee was officially accounted for on Dec. 17, 2018, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.
On Nov. 22, 1944, Delaney served with Company A, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, when his battalion launched a massive firing demonstration against a large pocket of German defenders near the town of Grosshau, in the Hürtgen Forest in Germany.
Artillery shell struck Delaney’s foxhole
Delaney was killed after an enemy artillery shell struck Delaney’s foxhole and he could not be medically evacuated. Due to ongoing combat operations, his remains were not recovered at that time.
In 1947, a set of remains was recovered from a section of the forest west of Grosshau. According to records, a local citizen first discovered the remains and concluded they were of an American soldier who had been killed by artillery fire.
After efforts to identify the remains were unsuccessful, the remains, designated X-5425 Neuville, were declared unidentifiable and interred at Neuville. now named the Ardennes American Cemetery.
A link is found
Following a thorough analysis of military records and American Graves Registration Command documentation by DPAA historians and scientists, which suggested a likely association between X-5425 Neuville and Delany, the remains were disinterred in June 2017 and the remains were sent to DPAA for analysis.
To identify Delaney’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological, as well as circumstantial and material evidence. Additionally, the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA analysis.
Gravesite meticulously care for
Delaney’s name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten, Netherlands, an American Battle Monuments Commission site along with others who are missing from WWII.
Although interred as an “unknown”, his grave was meticulously cared for over the past 70 years by the American Battle Monuments Commission. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.