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A funeral for a WW2 pilot, more than 70 years in the making

SANDY – It was the final farewell for a Utah pilot who died during World War II.  After being lost for more than 70 years, his remains were finally laid to rest.

A lot of the people who were inside the Larkin Mortuary in Sandy had never met Pilot Lynn Hadfield.  So, his daughter, Mary Ann Turner, read some of the letters he wrote while he was training.  Some spoke about the beautiful countries he had visited, while others described how busy he was.

One read, “Last Thursday, President Roosevelt spent the day with us.  We had a nice time.”

Turner was only two years old when her father was shot down over Germany in 1945.  She says it was important for her to make sure her family knew who her father was.

“I think I need to say that soldiers who have perished or who served in wars need to be remembered,” she says, adding, “Dad, we do remember you.”

Hadfield’s grandson and namesake, Lynn Hadfield, says he was compelled to post a picture of his grandfather’s purple heart on his social media accounts.  A few days later, he was contacted by  POW/MIA officials.

He joked, “[They were] looking for relatives and kin of Lynn W. Hadfield.  I was instantly struck and thought, ‘Is the military monitoring my Facebook page.’”

He says he was happy to learn that he had a lot more in common with his grandfather than just his name.  For instance, he learned they both went to the same high school.

“It’s great to think that I might have sat in a relatively close place that he did in those classrooms.”

German officials tried to find Hadfield’s wreckage shortly after the war ended, however, no one was able to do so until 2016.  DNA testing confirmed the remains belonged to Hadfield.