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World War II Veteran’s Remains Recovered After 79 Years

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Frank Ardith Norris | Image by DPAA.MIL

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The family of an Army Air Force pilot has finally received his remains, 79 years after he was shot down in Eastern Europe during World War II.

According to CBS News, Frank Ardith Norris’ relatives said he was killed in Romania on August 1, 1943, during an aerial bombing mission targeting the Nazis’ oil supplies. His remains could not be recovered for decades, and his family had to bury an empty casket in a family cemetery in Quinlan.

The family’s hope of ever getting Norris’ remains had all but completely faded when the Army contacted them in 2015 and asked for their DNA. The DNA was tested against bone fragments recently recovered by the Army and found to be a match.

Frank’s nephew, Steve Norris, said that the recovery of his uncle’s body has given the entire family closure because they can finally stop wondering where he is.

“There was always that wonder in the family, I think, for my grandmother and grandfather, and yes, we always wondered if he was in Romania,” Steve recalled. “We suspected he was, but we just didn’t know exactly where.”

Steve described Norris as a “23-year-old farm boy” who risked his life for his country. He was the fifth of seven children.

As announced by the Herald Banner, a memorial service will be held for Norris on April 30. The U.S. Army will be in attendance to provide full military honors.

The memorial service will be held at Grace Baptist Church, located at 1029 East Quinlan Parkway, at 2 p.m. Norris’ remains will be buried in the Paynetown Cemetery next to his parents, siblings, and other family members.

Norris is survived by nieces and nephews. The war veteran left behind multiple medals and decorations, some of which were awarded to him after his death. His nephew Steve says the medals are the family’s prized possessions.

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Walter Couch
Walter Couch
6 months ago

Glad he was found and family gets closure. My Dad has been missing since 30 Nov.1950 in N. Korea. Gov. Is still looking but I don’t hold out much hope!!!