P.F.C. Darwin H. Brown
Marine killed in World War II battle reburied in home town
Portsmouth Herald, New Hampshire
Thursday, May 9, 2002
BERNARDSTON, Mass. - Marine Pfc. Darwin H. Brown has come home nearly 60 years after the 18-year-old fell during the Battle of Tarawa in the South Pacific.
More than 100 people gathered Wednesday in the old Center Cemetery in this tiny western Massachusetts town for the military funeral. An honor guard of six young Marines in dress uniforms flanked the casket.
Brown's dog tags, and later his remains and that of another man, were unearthed by local construction workers on what is now Betio Island in the Republic of Kiribati. In November 1943 the atoll was the scene of one of the bloodiest battles of World War II.
Laborious forensic and DNA tests established one of the bodies as Brown's.
"We thought he was cut down in the coral, and never made it to shore," said Brown's brother, Arthur Brown, 76, of Bernardston, an Army veteran of the Battle of the Bulge.
The investigation revealed Brown had made it ashore where he was gunned down in battle and buried with a Navy medical corpsman killed the following day.
"He was just a typical teen-ager," said Beulah Denison, 79. She remembered the men in uniform coming to deliver the telegram informing the family of her younger brother's death.
"I just knew," she said. It was a few days before Christmas 1943.
"It's an amazing relief," she said to be able to say a final goodbye to her brother after all the years.
"We've got him now," her brother said. "We know where he is now."
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Created 30 March 2006