The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that Army Pfc. William F. Delaney, 24, of Kingston, Tennessee, killed during World War II, was accounted for on Dec. 17, 2018.
(This identification was initially announced on Dec. 20, 2018.)
On Nov. 22, 1944, Delaney served with Company A, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, when his battalion launched a massive firing demonstration against a large pocket of German defenders near the town of Grosshau, in the Hürtgen Forest in Germany. During the battle, an enemy artillery shell struck Delaney’s foxhole, and he died before he could be medically evacuated. Due to ongoing combat operations, his remains were not recovered at that time.
Following the close of hostilities in Europe in 1945, Delaney was among the hundreds of soldiers still missing from combat in the Hürtgen Forest. Between 1947 and 1950, American Graves Registration Command (AGRC) investigative teams traveled to Grosshau to search for Delaney’s remains. Various graves registration units recovered dozens of unidentified remains from the Hürtgen Forest. Those that could not be identified were designated as Unknowns. In December 1950, after all efforts to recover or identify his remains proved unsuccessful, the War Department declared him non-recoverable.
In 1947, a set of remains was recovered by the AGRC from District #135, a section of the forest west of Grosshau. According to records, local citizen Siegfried Glassen first discovered the remains and concluded they were of an American soldier who had been killed by artillery fire. The remains were sent to the AGRC central identification point in Neuville Belgium. After efforts to identify the remains were unsuccessful, the remains, designated X-5425 Neuville, were declared unidentifiable and interred at Neuville (today’s Ardennes American Cemetery.)
Following thorough analysis of military records and AGRC documentation by DPAA historians and scientists, which suggested a likely association between X-5425 Neuville and Delany, the remains were disinterred in June 2017 and the remains were sent to DPAA for analysis.
To identify Delaney’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological, as well as circumstantial and material evidence. Additionally, the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.
DPAA is grateful to the American Battle Monuments Commission and to the U.S. Army Regional Mortuary- Europe/Africa for their partnerships in this mission.
Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war. Currently there are 72,738 service members (approximately 26,000 are assessed as possibly-recoverable) still unaccounted for from World War II. Delaney’s name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten, Netherlands, an American Battle Monuments Commission site along with others who are missing from WWII. Although interred as an "unknown" his grave was meticulously cared for over the past 70 years by the American Battle Monuments Commission. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
For family contact information, contact the Army Casualty Office at (800) 892-2490.
Delaney will be buried May 27, 2019, in Lawnville, Tennessee.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil, find us on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa or call (703) 699-1420/1169.
Delaney’s personnel profile can be viewed at https://dpaa.secure.force.com/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt0000000Lm7TEAS