U.S WW2 pilot found 71 years on
SALERNO – The remains of Dewey L Gossett have been recovered in the mountains above Acerno where the US pilot crashed during the Second World War.
Matteo Pierro, from the association “Salerno 1943” whose volunteers helped to find Gossett, commented, “We can announce that we are almost certain that the remains are truly those of the pilot who crashed into the Accellica mountain on September 27 1943, but we must wait for confirmation from DNA tests which will be compared with relatives.”
He added, “after 71 years we hope that this young man will be able to find a dignified grave.”
Gossett, of South Carolina, was 23 years old at the time of his death. Returning to base on Sep 27 from a mission providing tactical support to American troops as they pursued the retreating German army, the group of planes flew too close to the mountain range. The head of the formation ordered the group to gain altitude, but when they emerged from the cloudbank Gossett’s plane was missing.
Severe rains hampered all recovery attempts at the time, but local residents in the town of Acerno who lived through the war have kept the stories of the lost pilot in the mountains alive. The location of the crash site has been known to locals for many years, after remnants of the plane were discovered in 1944. However it was largely thought the young man’s body must have been disturbed by animals and would consequently never be found.
The “Salerno 1943” society has undertaken many such similar searches, and have been successful in recovering the remains of five soldiers as well as locating some 30 crash sites.