|Birth: ||Aug. 28, 1925|
St. Johns County
|Death: ||Apr. 17, 1945|
Saxony (Sachsen), Germany
TSGT, US ARMY
WORLD WAR II
TSgt Walter Adell (Rick) McClellan, US Army, 19, of Pensacola, FL, who was Missing In Action, and later declared Killed In Action on April 17, 1945, South of Dresden, Germany. On September 2, 2008 Adell's human remains were recovered from a grave in Burkhardswalde, Germany.
Adell was born on August 28, 1925 in St. Augustine, FL to Amy Elizabeth (Bessie) (Raley) and Robert Harry McClellan. At the age of 7, Adell and his family moved from St. Augustine to Pensacola, FL where he attended local schools. After high school he worked at the Pensacola Naval Station, before he joined the US Army.
During World War II, on April 17, 1945 TSgt McClellan was aboard a B-17G Flying Fortress named the "Towering Titan," which had departed Chelveston, England to bomb a rail depot and enemy marshalling yards in Dresden, Germany. Somewhere south-southwest of the target area the aircraft was struck and damaged by an enemy fighter, crashing south of Dresden. All eight crewmen were declared dead. TSgt McClellan, was captured, interrogated and later executed by enemy forces and his remains were then buried. Following the war, the US Army Graves Registration Command attempted to locate and recover the remains of the US personnel lost in Europe, increasing political tension with the Soviet Union precluded productive work in the Soviet-occupied areas.
On May 28, 2007 a German national living near Burkhardswalde contacted the JPAC to report the presence of a grave in the local church cemetery that bore the marker "hier ruht ein unbekannte alliierte Flieger" (here rest an unknown allied Flier). After JPAC reviewed the church register, the church records indicated that the grave held the remains of a 19 year old American flyer who had parachuted from his aircraft, captured by German SS forces and taken to Burkhardswalde executed and buried in the town of Sportplatz. After the war, the remains were exhumed by the townspeople and reburied in the church cemetery. On September 2, 2008 a JPAC team recovery team traveled to the village of Burkhardswalde and exhumed the grave. The remains recovered were identified as TSgt. Walter Adele McClellan.
At the time of his death his parents, Bessie (Raley) and Robert Harry McClellan (now deceased); two sisters, June McClellan Thomas (Joe) of Pensacola, FL, Ann McClellan Meyers (Charles) (both deceased); two brothers, Bob McClellan (Jeanetta) (both deceased), and Bill McClellan of Atlanta, GA, survived Adell. Also cherishing his memories today are five nieces, Elizabeth Meyers of Huntsville, AL, Kathy Martinez of Dallas, TX, Nancy Parker of Pensacola, FL, Judy Meyers of Pensacola, FL and Courtney McClellan of Atlanta, GA; six nephews, Joe Thomas, Jr. of Atlanta, GA, Ottis Thomas of Pensacola, Charles Meyers of Huntsville, AL William Meyers of Tampa, FL, Bret McClellan of Atlanta, GA and Julian McClellan of Atlanta, GA and other cousins.
A funeral cortege will depart Harper-Morris Memorial Chapel at 1:30pm Friday, April 23, 2010 for Graveside Services at 2:00pm at Barrancas National Cemetery with full military honors.
HARPER-MORRIS MEMORIAL CHAPEL is in charge of arrangements.
Pensacola News Journal - Apr. 20, 2010
65 years later, a flier's body returns home
"Hier ruht ein unbekannte allierte Flieger."
Those words — "Here rests an unknown Allied Flier" — were the only words on the decades-old black cross burial marker in the little German church cemetery.
Now, the grave has been opened and the flier from World War II is unknown no more.
He was U.S. Army Air Forces Tech. Sgt. Walter Adell McClellan, a Pensacola native who was only 19 years old when his plane was shot down in April 1945.
He was captured, interrogated, tortured and executed the same day. He was buried in a German grave for decades.
This morning, his remains will arrive at Pensacola Gulf Coast Regional Airport from Hawaii. He will be buried with full military honors on Friday at Barrancas National Cemetery.
Until February, his family never knew exactly what happened to him. His remains were identified through a military investigation that began in 2007.
"We just knew he was dead," said his sister, June McClellan Thomas, 85, of Pensacola. "We knew he wasn't with us anymore."
Thomas said that although she is grateful to learn more about what happened to her younger brother, there is added pain now, too.
She always assumed that he died when his aircraft was shot down during a bombing run near Dresden, Germany. Now, she knows that he survived the crash and was captured by German troops.
Military reports now say he was tortured, executed and buried on the spot where he fell.
"Oh, the worst thing that could have happened in my mind was that he was tortured," Thomas said. She took a deep sigh. "But I know a lot of people went through similar things, so I know plenty of others feel the same way I do. I've accepted it the best I can."
Thomas found out about her brother's remains in February, when she and her husband, Joe Thomas, were contacted by military officials.
According to a military report, McClellan was one of eight men aboard a B-17G Flying Fortress bomber when it was shot down. The report states that he was "executed near Burkhardswalde, and buried on the spot."
A few months after World War II ended in 1945, townspeople in Burkhardswalde, a town near Dresden, moved McClellan's remains to a church cemetery and erected the marker to honor the "unknown allied Flier."
Thomas said she is planning to write the church to thank the congregation for the love and care members showed her brother's remains.
"It meant a lot to the family, knowing they cared enough to do that," she said.
In 2007, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command received a report from a German national that the grave of an Allied service member was buried there. An investigation of the remains revealed them to be McClellan's.
"I think it's amazing," said McClellan's nephew, Ottis Thomas, 58, of Pensacola. "It gets you a sense of closure and it gives the younger members of the family a little sense of history."
June Thomas said her brother's life was cut too short, and she now remembers so little.
But she does remember he hated school. He loved to dance. And that he was calm and "never hot-tempered."
"He was just an average boy, but he meant the world to us," she said.
Barrancas National Cemetery
Plot: 51 0 57
Created by: David Woody
Record added: Apr 18, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 51303482
purple heart - KIA|
Added: Sep. 10, 2011
burial plot: 51 57|
Added: Sep. 10, 2011
"Not for fame or reward, not for place or for rank, not lured by ambition or goaded by necessity, but in simple obedience to duty as they understood it. They suffered all, sacrificed all, dared all, and died." God bless you!|
Added: May. 25, 2010
|There are 2 more notes not showing...|
Click here to view all notes...