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WWII pilot's remains to undergo forensic tests in Germany

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March 1, 2001 


PARIS-(AP) - The remains of a U.S. serviceman, whose plane crashed in France toward the end of World War II, will be transferred to Germany for forensic tests, a U.S. army spokeswoman said Wednesday.

U.S. military officials have visited the northern French village where a farmer found the pilot's skeletal remains and parts of his fighter plane in a field. The officials were sent from a special unit based in Heidelberg, Germany, that is charged with investigating such discoveries.

Sergeant Tami Lambert, an army spokeswoman, said the officials met with French police and examined the remains.

"Today, the remains will be given to the U.S. military and taken to Landstuhl" in western Germany, she said. An armed forces medical examiner will then carry out detailed forensic tests on the remains.

Lambert said positive identification would not be possible until the forensic tests were carried out.

Among the personal effects found at the scene, were dog tags with the name William W. Patton engraved upon them and a serial number. But Lambert pointed out that some servicemen swapped dog tags with colleagues during the war.

Farmer Luc Druet made the bizarre discovery after finding five machine guns in his field in the village of La Longueville, near Maubege in the Nord region.

Further digging uprooted a propeller, a motor - and then a cockpit, where the serviceman's remains were found. The plane was believed to be a Mustang P51 that crashed in December 1944.

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