WWII airman remains to be buried 74 years after crash
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — An American airman is being buried more than 70 years after he crashed on a Pacific island during World War II.
Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. Roy Davis, of Peterborough, New Hampshire, was a gunner. He and the pilot were aboard an A-20G Havoc bomber on March 12, 1944, that failed to return to base in northeastern New Guinea after attacking enemy targets on the island.
Attempts to find the aircraft and crew were unsuccessful. Davis, 26, and 2nd Lt. Vernal Bird were declared dead in 1949.
In 2001, a crash site with pieces of wreckage was found in a remote area of Papua New Guinea. Recovered remains were identified as Bird’s in 2013.
In 2016, a Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency team excavated the crash site and recovered additional remains that turned out to be Davis’. Genetic testing as well as dental records and other analysis matched them to his family,
Norman Davis, 87, of Peterborough, was 12 years old when his brother, the oldest of five children, went missing. He said his family didn’t hear about the wreckage and the remains until last year.
“We never thought they’d find anything after all this time,” he said.
Norman Davis said some of his brother’s bones were recovered, as well as his teeth. “They even found his dog tags.”
Roy Davis will be buried June 23 in Ashby, Massachusetts.
The accounting agency says currently, there are 72,917 service members still unaccounted for from World War II. Davis’ name was recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in the Philippines. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he’s been accounted for.