Soldier’s remains ID’d after 75 years, funeral set

Published 1:19 am Tuesday, June 26, 2018

An Andalusia man who was killed in World War II will finally be laid to rest in the United States on Thursday, June 28, in Pensacola.

Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. Percy C. Mathews died on May 29, 1943, when the B-17 he was aboard was hit by enemy fire.

Mathews, who was a member of the 422nd Bombardment Squadron, 305th Bombardment Group, 8th U.S. Air Force, was participating in a strike against the German submarine base at Saint-Nazaire, France, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

In an email, his niece, Betty Mathews Unger of Metairie, Louisiana, said Mathews was living with her grandparents in Andalusia in 1942 when he joined the Army.

Survivors of the crash believed the aircraft crashed more than a hundred kilometers from Saint-Nazaire and near the French village of Quintin.

German reports indicated a casualty, without any burial information.

Near the end of the war, the American Graves Registration Command searched for remains of U.S. servicemen, in an effort to return them to the U.S.

In May 2015, a French researcher, Daniel Dahiot contributed to the search with a page from the burial register that showed all the names of Americans who were interred during World War II.

That list included Mathews’ name.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, along with the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System, used mitochondrial anthropological analysis to identify Mathews.

Although Mathews’ name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Cambridge American Cemetery in the United Kingdom, a rosette will be placed next to his name to show that he has been found.

Mathews’ official funeral is scheduled for Thursday, June 28, 2018, in Pensacola.