ROANE COUNTY, Tenn. — A Kingston solider killed in action during World War II is finally returning home.
U.S. Army Private First Class William Delaney died on Nov. 22, 1944 and was one of hundreds of soldiers missing in Germany.
“After more than 74 years, William Delaney will finally return home to Tennessee,” said Gov. Bill Lee. “This young soldier’s bravery and sacrifice should always be remembered, and I’m glad we can honor him and his family today."
Officials said the 24-year-old Delaney was fighting with the 4th Infantry Division when his battalion launched an artillery strike against German soldiers near Grosshau in the Hurtgen Forest on Nov. 22, 1944. An artillery shell struck Delaney's foxhole, and he was killed.
Delaney's remains were deemed unidentifiable after the war. After further investigation, the remains were disinterred in 2017 and they were analyzed. He was officially accounted for in December.
“Finally, Private Delaney will be laid to rest in Tennessee, under a headstone with his name, in the same cemetery where his parents are laid to rest,” Dept. of Veterans Services Commissioner Courtney Rogers said. “We extend our deepest condolences and support to his family and look forward to welcoming this Tennessee hero home.”
The dignified transfer of his remains will happen at McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville on Wednesday at 6:57 p.m.
Delaney will be laid to rest on Monday, May 27. Funeral services will be held at Young's Chapel Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Kingston at 2 p.m, and a graveside service will follow at Lawnville Cemetery.
Gov. Lee has declared Sunday, May 26 as a day of mourning in honor of Delaney's sacrifice. He is survived by several nephews and nieces.
Officials say more than 72,000 U.S. service members remain unaccounted for from World War II.