WWII Soldier's Body Returning Home, After Accidentally Being Buried in Germany

Updated: 08/08/2014 10:47 PM
Created: 08/08/2014 10:43 PM
By: Jenna Lohse

(ABC 6 News) -- One soldier killed in World War Two is now – 70 years later – making his way back home. His remains have traveled from Germany on the way to Canada for a proper burial. Today, they made a stop in Rochester.

"We are honored to be a part of bringing home U.S. Army Private First Class Lawrence Gordon,” said Craig Ugland, with the Minnesota Patriot Guard, during the ceremony. "He was killed in action yet missing in action in Normandy,” he said.

Private First Class Gordon was Canadian, but dedicated his life to the U.S. military.

"He was killed August 13th, 1944,” said Nephew, Lawrence Gordon, who is named after him and made it his mission to bring his uncle home. "His body was badly burned they had trouble identifying it, they mistakenly concluded he was a German soldier because they found some German clothing and equipment in the grave."

So, for nearly 70 years, Gordon was buried in a German cemetery.

"We tracked the body from the evidence that we had relating to the remains we determined that we thought it was him,” said Gordon, adding DNA testing confirmed it. Now begins the hero's journey back to his hometown. Gordon's remains will be escorted 1,600 miles from Wisconsin, where researchers uncovered his identity, all the way to Canada.

"The sad reality is that with 83,000 still missing the efforts that we're doing just aren't enough right now,” said Jed Henry, who helped investigate Gordon’s identity.

"When you hear that there's a probability that the POW/MIA flag could come down, this just represents that fact that 70 years later that there's someone that were able to bring home,” said Scott Eggert, of the Minnesota POW/MIA Rider Association. “That flag should fly as high as it can go until they all come home,” he said.

“It’s very much a satisfying day for me, a very happy day,” said Gordon.

The Minnesota Patriot Guard paving the way Friday, for Private First Class Lawrence Gordon to be laid to rest, exactly 70 years after he was killed in action. “We are very honored to be a part of that journey,” said Ugland. 

Family Photo