It had been over a year since the end of the war, and at least eight months since Clabe and Leora Wilson had been notified that their son Dan’s grave had been located in Austria.
More information that the Wilson family never learned about, until my request for Daniel S. Wilson’s 293 (Casualty) File:
August 22, 1946, a “Report of Investigation Areas Search” form was completed for “Unknown X-7341.” This unknown was believed to be Daniel Wilson, but because his identification tags were not with the body, positive identification could not be made. Chief of Police Franz Mueller and Bergermeister Hermann were interviewed for the report.
Unknown X-7341 was also disinterred that day from the Schwanberg cemetery, to be reburied in the new U.S. Military Cemetery at St. Avold, France. By September 9, Unknown X-7341 had been positively identified as Daniel S. Wilson by the following facts:
- The laundry mark on the clothing of X-7341 agreed with the initial and last four digits of Lt. Wilson’s military number. [W-0058]
- The date and place of death of X-7341 agreed with the Missing Air Craft Report for plane 44-24123 of which Lt. Wilson was the sole occupant.
- German Dulag record KSU 2882 indicated that Lt. Wilson was buried in the civilian cemetery from which X-7341 was disinterred.
- The cross over the grave from which X-7341 was disinterred was marked “Daniel S. Wilson” and the date of death.
- A statement by a civilian that the identification tags for Lt. Wilson were present, enabling the marking of the cross.
- Lt. Wilson was the only American buried in the civilian cemetery from which X-7341 was disinterred.
On the 18 [sic] Feb 1944 an American fighter plane of the LOCKHEED P 38 type was flying low over the small town of SCHWANBERG. While four other planes of the same type flew hundreds of feet above. It is not know wether [sic] the air ship was damaged or not. The plane was loosing [sic] altitude untill [sic] it was flying at tree top level. when the wing caught in a tree and tore off, then hit a telephone pole, slid and caught fire. The German soldiers who were in the vicinity came to the scene of crash. They removed the body from the plane. It is unknown whether personal effects were found by the German soldiers as they turned nothing more than name, rank and serial number which they told the police. They took off the identification tags of the deceased. The deceased was buried in the community cemetery. A casket of wood was furnished by the community. The burial was reported by the Burgermeister in routine searching operations.
(signed) Pfc Peter P. SIGHT 46050319
On September 9, 1946, at St. Avold, France, at 3:00, in the afternoon, Lt. Daniel S. Wilson was reburied between Unkown X-7330 and Unknown X-7318. Chaplain H.M. Trebaol conducted the service.
I was heartened by the care that went into the identification of this one casualty of the war, to make sure the remains they buried were indeed those of Daniel S. Wilson.
Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family During World War II is available from Amazon in paperback and ebook, also as an audiobook, narrated by Paul Berge.
It’s also the story behind the Wilson brothers featured on the Dallas County Freedom Rock at Minburn, Iowa. All five served. Only two came home.