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Remains of American airman shot down in World War II identified as Jamaica Plain resident

Finneran

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency reports that the remains of an American serviceman in a plane shot down over Romania during World War II have been identified as U.S. Army Air Force 1st Lt. Joseph E. Finneran, 22, of Jamaica Plain.

Finneran died after his plane was hit by enemy fire during Operation Tidal Wave, a large raid on an oil field and refineries in Ploiesti, north of Bucharest, on Aug. 1, 1943. Some 660 Americans died in the attack, but only 27 could be positively identified.

On Aug. 29, 1943, the War Department announced that Finneran, who lived at 31 Iffley Rd. in Jamaica Plan with his sister Katherine Finneran, was among several soldiers missing in action in "the Middle East area."

The remains of Finneran and the other unidentified dead men were at first interred in a Romanian cemetery, but after the war, an American team tried to identify more of the dead Americans. According to the agency:

One set that could not be identified was designated Unknown X-5300 Neuville, and reinterred into the American Military Cemetery at Neuville-en-Condroz, Belgium.

In 2017, DPAA began exhuming unknowns believed to be associated with unaccounted-for airmen from Operation Tidal Wave losses. On Aug. 28, 2017, Unknown X-5300 Neuville was disinterred and sent to the laboratory for analysis.

To identify Finneran’s remains, scientists from DPAA used anthropological analysis. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.

With his remains now identified, they will be disinterred from the military cemetery in Belgium for permanent burial in West Roxbury on November 9, the agency reports.

H/t Rick.

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“Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it. It flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it.” –Unknown

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