It's a confounding mystery of World War II: What happened to the 136 missing sailors from the explosion and sinking of the USS Turner? After all, the ship did not go down in battle or even in the open sea, but while anchored near New York Harbor in 1944, so close to the city that shockwaves from the onboard munitions blasts shattered windows in some buildings. While no cause of the initial blast was ever determined, a Navy report mentioned anti-submarine munitions were being defused around the time. Now, newly discovered documents show that the remains of four of the missing sailors were indeed found and buried not long after the disaster in separate graves for unknowns in a Long Island veterans cemetery, reports the AP.
And the researcher who found the documents suspects many more remains could have been found and buried in those same simple gravesites, marked only with the words "Unknown US Sailor" and "January 3, 1944," the day the destroyer sank. Military historian Ted Darcy, who is turning over his findings to the Pentagon, hopes that the military will exhume the four gravesites, as he believes all or most of the recovered remains were found and comingled in the four graves. Darcy says comingling of unidentified remains was a fairly common practice, particularly when the Navy was overburdened at the height of World War II. "I went to the Navy and they said, 'Hey, we don't know how many are in there,'" he says. Read more on the story here. (Read more World War II stories.)