Victor J. Willson, Jr. – Private, United States Army

From a contemporary news report:

“A World War II veteran was buried at Arlington National Cemetery April 14, 1992, no longer missing in action from a combat encounter 47 years ago. Victor J. Willson, who was assigned to Company I, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, part of the 82nd Airborne Division. On September 17, 1944, his unit was part of the massive ground and airborne assault, Operation Market-Garden.

“The Allies planned on capturing bridges over the Dutch waterways, outflanking the German defenses along the Rhine River. The 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions were dropped in to take bridges over the Mass and Waal Rivers and the canal between Eindhoven and Veghel. The British 1st Airborne Division, later backed by the Polish 1st Airborne Brigade, struck at Amhem, on the Rhine itself.

“On September 28, 1944, Willson departed with his unit from Nederrijsche Woods, Holland, moving east 2,500 yards with the mission of seizing and holding the Den Heuval Woods. The area was overrun by the Germans forces supported by tanks. Then 20, he was reported missing when his company regrouped.

“There were no eyewitnesses to his disappearance and he was reported as missing in action until 1992, when on January 2, his remains were positively identified. His remains had been discovered four years earlier in Holland by a farmer, then sent to the Army Laboratory in Hawaii for further examination until it was determined that the remains were his. He is survived by a brother and four sisters.”

He is now buried in Section 34 of Arlington National Cemetery.

On 7 April 1999, I received the following e-mail message:

Dear Sir,

My name is Benny Overhand and I'm from Rotterdam, Holland.

Browsing through your very nice website I stumbled upon the name of Victor Willson.

I feel the urge to tell you a few things about him.

First of all Victor wasn't found in 1992 but he was found on the 18th of March 1988 at 4.45 PM. He also wasn't found by a farmer during spring plowing, he was actually found by me!

It wasn't stumbling upon him either, it took me five years of my life and a lot of intense research before I found him.

Frankly said, I'm getting a bit sick of the notion that he was found by the farmer. Mind you, I'm NOT looking for any credit or such, but it would be nice to see somebody telling the facts as they happened.

I'm currently investigating the other MIA's of the 82nd Airborne and I hope to be successful once more in the near future.

Another thing that might be of interest to you, I had a beautiful baby daughter on Christmas day 1997, and I named her after Kelly Victoria in Victor's honor.

I hope that this information has been of some help to you, if there is anything I can help you with please let me know.

Yours Sincerely,
Benny Overhand


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