Gov. Malloy Directs Flags to Half-Staff Tuesday in Honor of World War II Airman from Winsted
Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. John H. Canty, Who Was Killed in Action in 1944, to Be Buried Tuesday With Full Military Honors
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that he is directing U.S. and state flags in Connecticut to fly at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Tuesday, July 10, 2018, in honor of U.S. Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. John H. Canty, a World War II airman from Winsted who was killed in action in 1944 at the age of 22 and whose remains were recently discovered and returned to his family. A funeral service and burial with full military honors is being held Tuesday at Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C.
Accordingly, since no flag should fly higher than the U.S. flag, all other flags, including state, municipal, corporate, or otherwise, should also be lowered during this same duration of time.
“Staff Sgt. Canty put his life on the line and made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the United States, and for that we are forever grateful,” Governor Malloy said. “These many decades later, he has rightfully returned home and will receive a proper burial at one of our nation’s most sacred grounds alongside other heroes who fought on behalf of our country. We are forever grateful for his service, and I ask all Connecticut residents to join me in honoring Staff Sgt. Canty’s memory and sacrifice.”
“We are deeply grateful to Staff Sgt. Canty for his service to the nation,” Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman said. “He and his squadron were integral to the allied war effort and bringing a halt to the terrible destruction caused by the Third Reich. Time gives us tremendous perspective – we are able to understand just how important the service and sacrifices made by the men and women who served in WWII were to the freedoms we have today, and how meaningful their actions were then and are now. I join many others in welcoming him home.”
On June 22, 1944, Staff Sgt. Canty was a member of the 555th Bombardment Squadron, 386th Bombardment Group, IX Bomber Command, aboard a B-26 Maurader on a nighttime bombing mission from Easton Lodge-Essex, England, against targets near Caen, France. His B-26 was shot down between the villages of baron-sur-Odon and Gavrus, France. All eight crew members were killed in the incident. Because the location of the crash was in German-held territory, U.S. forces were unable to make a detailed search for the crew at the time of their loss.
Following the liberation of France, the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC), U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps, searched for and disinterred the remains of U.S. service members who were killed in battle. Residents of Gavrus recalled that a two-engine airplane crashed just outside the village on June 22, 1944. An American was recovered and buried in a nearby British cemetery. In 1945, the remains were exhumed and he was identified as an airman aboard the same aircraft as Staff Sgt. Canty. However, no other remains were identified and Staff Sgt. Canty was declared non-recoverable.
In October 2014, British researcher Michael Jurd notified U.S. authorities that he found remains, as well as personal effects that corresponded to Staff Sgt. Canty, near Gavrus. In 2016, a U.S. Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) investigation team surveyed the reported crash site and recommended it for excavation. Between April and May 2017, a DPAA recovery team excavated the crash site between Baron-sur-Odon and Gavrus, locating possible remains and personal effects.
Staff Sgt. Canty’s remains were identified on December 12, 2017 by scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System using mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, which matched his family, as well as dental and anthropological analysis, which matched his records, and material evidence.
Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war. Currently there are 72,906 service members (approximately 26,000 are assessed as possibly-recoverable) still unaccounted for from World War II. Staff Sgt. Canty’s name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at the Normandy American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.