The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that U.S. Army Pfc. Roy J. Searle, 22, of Providence, Rhode Island, killed during World War II, was accounted for Sept. 27, 2022.
In December 1944, Searle was assigned to Company D, 1st Battalion, 357th Infantry Regiment, 90th Infantry Division. His unit crossed the Saar River on Dec. 6 and attempted for the next several days to capture and hold two heavily defended towns of Pachten and Dillingen, Germany. Searle was mortally wounded during enemy engagement on Dec. 9, and was reported to have died of his wounds. In mid-December 1944, the 90th Infantry Division was ordered to withdraw to assist the American effort in the Ardennes during the Battle of the Bulge. The tactical situation prevented the 357th Infantry from recovering the remains of all of its fallen before relocating.
Searle's body was among those not recovered.
Following the end of the war, the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC), was tasked with investigating and recovering missing American personnel in Europe. They conducted several investigations in the Pachten-Dillingen area from 1946 to 1950 but were unable to recover or identify Searle’s remains. He was declared non-recoverable in October 1951.
While studying unresolved American losses in the Pachten-Dillingen area, DPAA historians analyzed documentation related to a set of unidentified remains, designated X-4650 St. Avold, recovered in 1946 from a civilian cemetery in Reimsbach, Germany.
, Several remains recovered from that cemetery were members of the 90th Infantry Division killed at Pachten and Dillingen, and buried by German forces after the fighting. Historians determined that the X-4650 remains could be associated with Searle. The remains, buried as an Unknown at the Normandy American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in St. Laurent, France, were disinterred in June 2021 and sent to the DPAA laboratory for identification.
To identify Searle’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), Y chromosome DNA (Y-STR) and autosomal DNA (auSTR) analysis.
Searle’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at Lorraine American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in, St. Avold, France, along with the others still missing from World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
Searle will be buried Sept. 13, 2023, in Lake Worth, Florida.
For family and funeral information, contact the Army Casualty Office at (800) 892-2490.
DPAA is grateful to the American Battle Monuments Commission and to the U.S. Army Regional Mortuary-Europe/Africa for their partnership in this mission. DPAA would also like to thank Mr. Chris Seiwert, Mr. Peter Jung, and the Verein zur Bergung Gefallener in Osteuropa e.V. (VBGO) in Germany for assistance in information related to 90th Infantry Division losses and battle sites in the Pachten-Dillingen area.
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 https://www.linkedin.com/company/defense-pow-mia-accounting-agency.
Searle’s personnel profile can be viewed at https://dpaa-mil.sites.crmforce.mil/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt000001EhJLcEAN.