August 1944 to November 1951

Office of the Quartermaster General
Washington, D.C.

2 November 1950

Mr. and Mrs. Oscar M. Buxton,

The Department of the Army desires that you be given the most recent information concerning your son, the late Second Lieutenant John M. Buxton.

Although the records of this office disclose that his remains have been recovered, it has not been possible, because of the manner in which he met his death, to identify his remains individually.

According to Army records and report of investigation, your son was one of ten crew members manifested about a B-24 type aircraft, Serial Number 42-50459, which was lost as the result of enemy anti-aircraft fire while on a bombing mission to Magdeburg, Germany, on 16 August 1944. No parachutes were observed, however, one crew member survived and was captured and subsequently returned to military control. Captured German records report the crash of the aircraft near Gerwisch, approximately six miles northeast of the target, the burial in the local cemetery of the deceased members of the crew and the capture of the survivor.

At a later date, units of our American Graves Registration Service proceeded to Gerwisch to disinter these remains. It was discovered that the remains of deceased crew members from three American planes were interred in this cemetery. These remains were removed to the United States Military Cemetery, St. Avoid, France, for processing through the Central Identification Laboratory. It was possible to segregate the three crews and the remains of one member of your son's crew were identified individually. All efforts to determine the individual identities of your son and seven of his crew members who died with him were unsuccessful because of the shattered and incomplete condition of the remains and the lack of sufficient identifying data. These remains were, therefore, designated as a group, with respect to which collective identity is known. The remains of this group will be brought back simultaneously for interment in the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, 101 Memorial Drive, St. Louis, Missouri. This plan for the burial of all known groups of men, for whom individual identity cannot be established, in one of our country's shrines, is based upon the provisions of Public Law 383, 79th Congress, as amended by Section 3, Public Law 368, 80th Congress. The Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery was selected as the final resting place of the group because of it geographical location, which distributes as equitably as possible, the travel burden of all next of kin involved.

You and the next of kin of the other decedents included in this group will be informed of the date and time of final interment sufficiently in advance to permit you and any interested persons to attend the ceremonies. In order that you may receive information concerning these final rites, it is essential, in case you change your address, that you promptly inform the Commanding General, New York Port of Embarkation, 1st Avenue and 58th Street, Brooklyn 20, New York.

Permit me to extend my deepest sympathy in the loss of your loved one and express the hope that you will receive some small measure of solace from the knowledge that he died an honored death in the service of his country.

Sincerely yours,
James B. Clearwater
Colonel, QMC
Chief, Memorial Division

Jack's father died September 30, 1950 from a heart attack at the age of 55 - before he knew that his son's remains had been identified.