April 6, 2017 —
Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Ewart T. Sconiers a Distinguished Service Cross recipient, missing from World War II, has now been identified and will soon be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
On Oct. 21, 1942, Sconiers was a member of the 414th Bombardment Squadron, 97th Bombardment Group, serving as the bombardier on the B-17F Flying Fortress "Johnny Reb, Jr.", during a mission to bomb the German U-boat pens at Lorient, France. During the attack, the aircraft received severe damage, but the entire crew parachuted safely, landing in water near Brest, France, where they were picked up by a French fishing vessel and turned over to German forces as prisoners of war. The Americans were sent to Dulag Luft in Oberusal, Germany for interrogation, and on Nov. 11, 1942, Sconiers was transferred to Stalag Luft II in Sagan, Germany (present-day Zagan, Poland), where he remained until Jan 9, 1944.
According to German military records, Sconiers was reported to have died Jan. 24, 1944, and was buried in nearby Lubin, Poland three days later. Though fellow prisoners of war stood grave-side, locating Sconiers' grave proved extremely difficult due to post-war conditions in Poland and subsequent removal of the cemetery's hundreds of grave markers. He was declared nonrecoverable in 1955.
In 2015, an independent researcher identified a cross with Sconiers' name in a French military cemetery in Gdansk, Poland. The remains were disinterred in 2016 and sent to the DPAA laboratory for analysis.
Laboratory analysis and circumstantial evidence were used in the
identification of his remains.
Interment services are pending, and his family plans to interr him next to his mother in his hometown of DeFuniak Springs, Florida.
Additional details on Sconiers' service, his POW experience and the recovery of his remains may be found at the family's website, www.brinsconiershome.com.