For more than 70 years a tree protected the remains of a World War II fighter pilot from Washington state whose plane crashed in Germany in 1945.
The remains of Army Air Forces 1st Lt. William Gray of Kirkland were returned to his family Friday for a burial at Tahoma National Cemetery with full military honors. The 21-year-old Gray was on a dive-bombing mission on April 16, 1945, when his single-seat P-47D aircraft clipped a tree and crashed in Lindau.
The Defense POW/MIA said investigators recovered Gray’s remains last year. Two people who saw Gray’s plane go down told the investigators where to look, Q13 Fox reported Friday. The investigators were in Lindau on another recovery mission.
“The bones they found were embedded in the tree,” Gray’s niece Jan Bradshaw told the station. Her brother Doug Louvier added, “It grew over his remains and really protected and marked the spot.”