Remains of WWII pilot 2nd Lt. James R. Lord found at sea returned home after 75 years.

Courtesy of the U.S. Air Force

Remains of WWII pilot found at sea returned home to family after 75 years

June 17, 2019 - 2:33 pm

By Ben Krimmel

The remains of former P-47 Thunderbolt pilot who has been missing since World War II have finally come home.

Second Lt. James R. Lord has been missing since his aircraft crashed on August 10, 1944, in the Mediterranean near Corsica while he was engaged with enemy gun emplacements in northwest Italy, according to a U.S. Air Force release.

His remains were unknown until divers spotted the wreckage of his aircraft during the summer of 2018 when the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency Underwater Recovery Team was aboard a French Navy vessel and recovered Lord's remains aircraft wreckage, and personal belongings. Dental records and material evidence found at the crash site helped identify his remains.

A 1941 graduate of Conneaut High School in Ohio, Lord enlisted in the U.S. Air Corps on October 10, 1942. He was returned to his family Saturday, June 15, when his remains were flown to Cleveland. His coffin, draped in the American flag, was received with full military honors. 

Remains of WWII pilot 2nd Lt. James R. Lord found at sea returned home after 75 years.
Courtesy of the U.S. Air Force

Richard Gleason, a cousin of Lord and a Vietnam veteran, was two years old in 1944.

"He gave his life for our country, and there's nothing more impactful or higher than a young man or woman could do, and they went into battle and they were brave," he told Fox 8 Cleveland.

Lord, then assigned to the 66th Fighter Squadron of the 57th Fighter Group, was only 20 years old when he was declared missing in action. His name was added to the Tablets of the Missing at the Florence American Cemetery in Italy, where more than 4,000 American service members are buried.

Of the more than 400,000 Americans who died during the Second World War over 72,000 remain missing. 

Another of Lord's cousins, Rick Gleason, a commander in the U.S. Navy, hopes other soldiers who are missing can come home soon.

"My cousin James Lord was an absolute hero," he told Fox * Cleveland. "The good thing to know is that our government is out there looking for these men and women that are missing in action in hopes that we can bring them all home."

One of those soldiers still missing is Lord's brother Bill, who was reported missing and presumed killed in action on July 12, 1944.

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