(WHTM) – The remains of a Pennsylvania World War II pilot killed in Europe have been identified nearly 80 years after his death.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency says U.S. Army Air Forces 1st Lt. William B. Montgomery, 24, of Ford City was accounted for on Jan. 10, 2023.
In the summer of 1944, Montgomery was assigned to the 844th Bombardment Squadron, 489th Bombardment Group (Heavy), Eighth Air Force. On June 22, Montgomery was piloting a B-24H Liberator that was struck by anti-aircraft after a bombing raid on a German airfield in Saint-Cyr-l’École, near Versailles, France.
Despite the damage to the aircraft, Montgomery’s piloting skill allowed him to navigate the aircraft until it was over the English coast, whereupon he ordered his crew to bail out. Seven of the airmen parachuted successfully while the other three crew members, including Montgomery, were still on board. Two of the crew witnessed the aircraft crash into a farm in West Sussex, England.
Montgomery had been declared non-recoverable in 1950 after investigators searched the crash site.
In June 2021 a recovery mission resulted in the recovery of human remains and material evidence. Scientists used anthropological analysis and material evidence to identify Montgomery’s remains.
Montgomery’s name is recorded on the Wall of the Missing at Cambridge American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Cambridge, United Kingdom, along with others still missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
Montgomery will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery on a date to be determined.