2nd Lt. Charles "Butch" Moritz
Effingham, IL (KSDK) - The body of an Effingham World War II pilot who died training in England will finally come home to be laid to rest.
Second Lieutenant Charles R. "Butch" Moritz of Effingham, Illinois died in a plane crash on a training flight over England in 1944. Moritz was a member of the 496th Fighter Group stationed in England.
"Butch" Moritz collided with another plane during a training mission. Eyewitnesses reported seeing Moritz's plane spiraling out of control at a high rate of speed before it hit the earth, exploded and burst into flames on impact. The other pilot parachuted to safety during the accident.
Moritz and the remains of his P-51C Mustang bomber escort were discovered by the Lincolnshire Aircraft Recovery Group in September 2011.
The vintage aircraft group was searching for the remains of the plane that collided with Moritz's and found his plane by mistake. The plane was buried 18 feet in the ground near Toft Newton, Lincolnshire for 68 years.
"Butch" Moritz was identified after his dog tags, ID bracelet and a wallet containing papers with his name were found at the crash site.
In October 2011, the Department of the Army Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command contacted Pamela Landers of Nisswa, Minnesota to verify his identity.
Moritz graduated from Effingham High School and attended New Mexico Military Academy for one year and later attended the University of Illinois, where he was a member of the polo team.
All of Moritz's siblings are deceased. His nieces and nephews and their families will gather in Effingham for the internment on May 5. The ceremony will include full military honors.