Remains of WWII soldier to be laid to rest in Williamsport, PA after decades of being unidentified
WILLIAMSPORT, P.A. (WENY) -- U.S. Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. James Litherland was killed during World War II about 79 years ago, and after decades of being unidentified, his remains are set to be interred on next month in his hometown of Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Litherland served in the 359th Squadron, 303rd Bombardment Group, and on February 28th, 1944 the B-17F Flying Fortress he was piloting crashed after being hit by German anti-aircraft fire.
The 25-year-old was amongst six other crew members who perished in the crash.
After an investigation of the crash site remains in 1945, some of the remains were disinterred and reburied at the United States Military Cemetery located in St. Andre, France. However one set could not identified, and was later given the designation, "X-452 St. Andre."
These remains were then transferred over to Suresnes American Cemetery of France.
Later in 1947, investigators were able to find a connection between X-452 and Litherland but a definitive conclusion could not be reached. X-452's case was closed on 1950 before being reopened again in 2019, with the The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency taking over the investigation, and taking the remains for analysis at Offutt Air Force Base
The DPAA officially declared that Litherland was accounted for on March 16, 2023. The confirmation was made after using dental, anthropological, mitochondrial DNA and autosomal DNA analysis.
Litherland will be laid to rest at Wildwood Cemetery in Williamsport on Sept. 9th.