Remains of Lawrence S. Gordon, missing Sask. soldier, ID'd
DNA testing of remains indicate they are those of soldier who was private first class in U.S. army
The seven-decade-long mystery of a Saskatchewan-born Second World War soldier who was mistakenly buried with Nazi soldiers appears to have been solved.
DNA testing of the remains indicate they are indeed those of Lawrence S. Gordon of Eastend, Sask., who was a private first class in the U.S. Army. He was missing and presumed dead after a battle in France in 1944.
After his armoured vehicle was destroyed by a German shell, his body was never found.
His family wrote repeatedly to the U.S. government seeking more information, but was frustrated every time.
Family members, aided by historians and well-wishers, never gave up. They eventually tracked his suspected remains to a cemetery in Normandy, France, that's administered by the German government.
Some, like his nephew and namesake Lawrence R. Gordon, believed it was possible he ended up in a German cemetery because he had scavenged some clothing from a dead German soldier.
It took nearly seven decades for the U.S. government to finally declassify war records that contained forensic details about unidentified soldiers.
The so-called x-files contained bone charts and dental records that helped the family find the remains of a soldier code-named x-3.
Last September, Gordon and his team convinced officials in Germany and France to remove the bones of x-3 from a burial cask and then conduct DNA testing at a French crime lab.
"It shows that people who were enemies and killing each other 70 years ago, can now co-operate; work together; help each other to try and correct some of the things that weren't right in the past," Gordon said.
Now the results are in, and officials say they are conclusive.
It means Lawrence Gordon has been found, and his family can begin what's expected to be the complicated process of bringing him home.
"I intend to have him buried in his hometown of Eastend, Sask., on Aug. 13 this year, which is the 70th anniversary of his death," Gordon told CBC News.