Dutch return WWII remains of two US soldiers

27th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Dutch authorities have handed over to the US the remains of two WWII soldiers, whose unmarked graves were discovered by treasure hunters last month, a military official said Thursday.

"Their remains were discovered by treasure hunters with metal detectors last month in an acre in Groesbeek, close to the German border," warrant-officer Geert Jonker of the Dutch army's Recovery and Indentification unit said.

From the equipment dug up with the remains, it was determined the two men belonged to the US 82nd Airborne Division, who were dropped by parachute into the Netherlands on September 17, 1944, during Operation Market Garden.

"After we conducted a full examination, their remains were handed over last week to the US military's Central Identification Laboratories in Hawaii," Jonker told AFP.

The identity of the two soldiers, missing for the last 67 years, are unknown, but Jonker said he believed the US investigation would be able put names to the remains so relatives could be informed.

"It would be good after 67 years to put an end to the questions about the fate of their loved ones," he said.

Operation Market Garden was at the time the largest airborne assault by Allied Forces trying to enter Germany across the Rhine near the Dutch city of Nijmegen. The operation ultimately ended in failure.

Some 40 soldiers of the 82nd Airborne still remained missing in the area, Jonker said.

© 2011 AFP

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