Remains of Massachusetts soldier who died in Japanese POW camp during WWII identified

The remains of a soldier that died at a Japanese POW camp were identified by experts. The soldier's remains were accounted for using mitochondrial DNA analysis.

Experts have identified the remains of a soldier from Massachusetts who died in a Japanese prisoner of war camp in the the Philippines during World War II, the military said on Monday.

Army Pfc. Arthur L. Pierce, 26, of Malden, was accounted for in July through mitochondrial DNA analysis as well as anthropological analysis and circumstantial evidence, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency said in a statement.

Pierce was a member of the 803rd Engineer Battalion involved in fighting on the Bataan peninsula in 1942. He was among thousands of U.S. and Filipino service members captured and held in POW camps after surviving the 65-mile Bataan Death March.


Pierce was held at the Cabanatuan camp where he and the other POWs endured malnutrition and outbreaks of malaria and dysentery. He died of disease on July 19, 1942 and was buried in a communal grave, the DPAA said.

The remains of a Massachusetts soldier that fought in WWII were identified by experts.

The remains of a Massachusetts soldier that fought in WWII were identified by experts.

Those remains were relocated after the war to a temporary military mausoleum near Manila. Twelve sets of remains were identified in 1947 and the rest were buried at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial. The remains were disinterred in 2018 and sent to Hawaii for further analysis.


The DPAA announced last week that Army Air Forces Pvt. Joseph E. Lescaut, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, who also died at Cabanatuan after the Bataan Death March, had also recently been accounted for.

Pierce will be buried in Augusta, Maine, at a future date, the DPAA said.

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