Closure for missing WWII soldier

Closure for missing WWII soldier

A year before the end of the Second World War and it was becoming clear to Nazi Germany that they were losing the war. Hitler made a call for his officers overseas to start returning home. On August 13th 1944, German soldiers who were returning from an investigation patrol in the United States in Normandy blew up a Ford built M8 Armoured vehicle. At the time, it was believed that Lawrence S. Gordon together with James Bowman had been riding in the vehicle and both were most likely killed in the explosion.

Fast forward to 2013, almost seventy years later and Gordon’s family still has had no closer concerning his presumed death and disappearance. Bowman was identified through fingerprints whereas the only thing of Gordon found was his wallet. There are more than 73 000 U.S military personal that had been reported as missing since the war, and Gordon is one of them, the News reports.

Lawrence S. Gordon was born in 1916 in Saskatchewan (Canada). After the Japanese Pearl Harbour attack, he enlisted to join the U.S army and ended up in the U.S. Army reconnaissance company. There he worked with David L. Henry, the late grandfather of Jed Henry (a filmmaker who will later on investigate his grandfather’s history and subsequently discover the story of Gordon). During Jed Henry’s visit to Europe in 2011, he came to learn about Lawrence Gordon from a French historian. There Henry’s interests into Gordon led him to further investigate his death by looking through military files, only to discover that Gordon was never truly identified and was designated as “X-3” when U.S. soldiers discovered the exploded car and buried the bodies.

The ‘X-3’ identify was contested because the body was discovered wearing some German clothing. Henry believes that because the body was discovered next to Bowman’s it might very well be Gordon, who would at the time been riding next to Bowman. How Gordon got to wear German clothing can only be explained through speculation.

Currently, the French have seized the X-3 burial site and have put it under investigation. The German military graves commission and the French government are conducting DNA testing and Henry hopes to have the answers he needs in order to identify Gordon once and for all.  The process is full of jurisdiction processes and bureaucracy, however thus far Henry has managed to get the cooperation of all parties needed including the Biotechnology Center- who will provide the scientific expertise.

Ian Harvey

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