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World War II airman laid to rest 75 years after fatal crash

May 4, 2019

BRISTOL, R.I. (AP) — A World War II pilot who died in a plane crash in Bulgaria 75 years ago after helping nine fellow crew members to safety has finally been laid to rest in his native Rhode Island.

A funeral service was held Saturday for Army Air Forces 1st Lt. John Crouchley Jr., in Bristol.

Crouchley’s remains were discovered in 2017 during a renewed effort to find him. They were positively identified last September and arrived at T.F. Green Airport on Thursday.

The military says Crouchley was piloting a B-24H Liberator that was shot down and crashed in Bulgaria in June 1944. Before the crash, the 26-year-old continued to pilot the aircraft, allowing nine other crewmembers to bail out and survive.

The funeral featured the playing of Taps and a three-volley rifle salute.