Remains of World War II soldier from East Tennessee return home

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Remains of a World War II soldier from Tennessee who was killed in Germany are home. Back on Tennessee soil, greeted by family. 

The remains of Army Pfc. William Frank Delaney of Kingston returned McGhee Tyson Airport on Wednesday. Funeral services for the fallen 24-year-old soldier are scheduled on May 27 in Kingston.

Delaney, who went by his middle name Frank, 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. Military officials say an artillery shell struck Delaney’s foxhole, and he was killed.

His niece, Frankie Copeland, said she’s been told stories about her grandmother being notified Delaney was killed in combat and as a child, never understood why talking about the war was difficult for her family members. 

Her name, Frankie, in honor of her Uncle, Frank. She was born nine years after Delaney was killed, but says because of her name, she felt a kinship to the uncle she heard about in stories. 

Delaney’s remains were deemed unidentifiable after the war. After further investigation, the remains were disinterred in 2017 and they underwent DNA analysis.

The DNA — provided by Frankie herself. She calls the identification “destiny” that it would be hers that would eventually link Delaney to the rest of his family. 

He was officially accounted for in December.

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