Body of a WWII Soldier Found in Shallow Grave

The body of a WWII soldier has revealed more about the man’s fate to the son who never knew him. That is not to say, however, that they never met. Eddie Harris was acquainted with his father for a brief period in 1944. His father was on leave at the time, though Private First Class Cecil Harris was still very much a WWII soldier.

Pfc. Harris died only a couple of months after meeting his son. While his remains were not found for almost seventy years, the time and place of his death was known to have been around Western Europe. He died during an offensive called Operation Nordwind, the final Nazi assault around that area. Once the WWII soldier was discovered in France, his son was notified as soon as possible of the discovery. The finding was made in a shallow burial site, in France’s northern regions.

Eddie Harris took after his father quite a bit, considering he cannot even remember meeting the man. For one thing, his father inspired his own military service. He served in two well-known conflicts in the Persian Gulf and Vietnam, with full knowledge that his father was a WWII soldier. Eddie Harris was excited when he heard that his father’s body had been discovered as it meant that a man he venerated for years was about to be buried on American soil. More than anything, it meant that his father was not merely another casualty of the war whose body was lost forever.

The grave in which the senior Harris was found was clearly made by hand, and possibly in a hurry. It only stood out as a grave in the first place due to a large rock with his last initial carved next to a cross. It appears possible that another WWII soldier may have buried him shortly after his death. Over half of the skeletal remains appeared to be missing, but some of Harris’ items were found alongside the partial body, including one of his dog tags, the Military Times reports.

The burial site of the WWII soldier may not have been elaborate or anything of the sort, but it potentially presents the touching story of two or more men who took time out of a heated mission to ensure that one of their fallen was buried respectfully. Either way, Eddie Harris gets to see his father, a WWII soldier who he has always respected, returned home after nearly seventy years buried abroad.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE