Cover photo for Staff Sgt Byron H. Nelson's Obituary
Staff Sgt Byron H. Nelson Profile Photo
1916 Staff 1753

Staff Sgt Byron H. Nelson

March 29, 1916 — January 1, 1753


March 29, 1916
Baker Township,
OBrien County, Iowa

April 25, 1944
Fognano, Italy

1:30 P.M. Saturday July 1, 2017
Pleasant Hill Cemetery - Primghar, Iowa
Full Military Honors provided by the Iowa National Guard.
The public is welcome to attend the memorial service.

Arrangements under the care of the
Eldridge Family Funeral Home; Primghar, Iowa


More than 73 years after being shot down on a bombing mission over Italy during WWII, Staff Sgt. Byron H. Nelson is returning home to Iowa.

Nelson, a 28-year old Primghar, Iowa native serving with the 721st Bomber Squadron, 450th Bomber Group, 15th Air Force, U.S. Army Air Corps, was last seen April 25, 1944 as his unit was conducting a bombing mission over Varese, Italy. With the flight originating from Manduria, Italy, the aircraft, a B-24G Liberator on which Nelson served as a nose gunner, was shot down by German fighter aircraft and crashed near Fognano, Italy after Nelsons aircraft and two others became separated from the main formation due to dense clouds. Eight of the ten crewmembers were able to parachute from the aircraft; six evaded capture and returned to friendly lines, while two were taken prisoner by German forces.

Nelson and one other crewmember from the aircraft, Sgt. John E. White, were officially declared deceased but their remains were never recovered. On Sept. 9, 1947, the American Graves Registration Service disinterred remains from a cemetery near Fognano, Italy, where they were reportedly buried by local residents following the crash of an American bomber in April 1944. The remains were unable to be identified and were re-interred as Unknown X-190 in the Florence (Italy) American Cemetery on May 26, 1949. Due to new historical investigations and new technology that could link an identification to Unknown X-190, the remains were disinterred in Aug. 2015 by the U.S. Department of Defenses Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. DNA analysis and circumstantial evidence were used in the identification of Nelsons remains in late 2016.

Byron H. Nelson was born March 29, 1916 in Baker Township, OBrien County, Iowa to Charles E. and Mabel (Faulkner) Nelson. He attended school in Primghar and enlisted in the U.S. Army in January 1943. Nelsons military awards and honors include the Purple Heart, Air Medal (with one silver and one bronze Oak Leaf Clusters), Army Good Conduct Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal (with one bronze service star), World War II Victory Medal, Enlisted Aircrew Member Wings, and Aerial Gunner Badge Wings.

At the time of his death, Nelson was married to Thelma (Bostrom) Nelson and had a two-year old daughter, Judith Ann. He is survived by two grandsons and many nieces, nephews, and extended family members. Nelsons parents, five siblings, widow and daughter are deceased.

Memorial contributions may be directed to the family through the:
Eldridge Family Funeral Home,
415 S. Hayes Ave., Primghar, Iowa 51245
phone 712-757-8055

- Media Information for Memorial Service

The family of Staff Sgt. Byron Nelson asks that the dignity of his memorial service be respected. Media may shoot photos and video at the memorial service and media availability with the family will be held at the Primghar Community Building, 215 1st St. SE, Primghar following the service. Media point of contact at the funeral and media availability is Maj. Tim Mills at (cell) 515-577-9518.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Staff Sgt Byron H. Nelson, please visit our flower store.


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