The federal government, with the help of volunteers, are trying to locate living relatives of 13 soldiers who died on Oct. 10, 1944 in Ajoncourt, France, during World War II.
And they’re reaching out to the media for help.
Locally, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) and The Army’s Past Conflict Repatriation Branch (PCRB), would like to find a family member of Edward J. Bulin willing to submit a DNA sample to compare with remains found in the area the men went missing.
Pvt. Bulin was from Suffolk County, according to volunteer Betty Purcell, who emailed media members on Long Island on behalf of the DPAA and PCRB for help.
A 1940 Census entry puts a Bulin family as living at 488 Deer Park Avenue in Babylon, though the Edward J. Bulin listed in the entry would have just been 2 years old at the time.
Below is story describing how these 13 men died, their remains never recovered.
On the night of 10 October 1944, Company B (60th Engineer Combat Battalion) suffered the loss of 47 men in an explosion of anti-tank mines at Ajoncourt, France. The third platoon and elements of the first platoon were engaged in a night mine laying operation just north of the town.
The squad trucks loaded with mines were parked at a point just south of the town and the mines were being fused and unloaded from the trucks and carried to the mine field. At approximately 2300, a terrific explosion from the leading truck which was loaded with mines, caused the sympathetic detonation of a nearby truck load of mines and mines stacked on the ground nearby.
Approximately 1500 mines in all exploded. The entire area immediately became an inferno of exploding mines, small arms ammunition and burning vehicles.
Intermittent enemy artillery and mortar fire had been falling in this area, but it has never been definitely established whether this or a defective fuse caused the explosion … The night was very dark and there was a heavy fog which made rescue work most difficult, but there were numerous incidents of heroism.
Several wounded men pulled wounded comrades from the nearby la Seille river thereby saving their lives.
(Source: 60th Engineer Combat Battalion After Action Report)
In total, 33 men were killed in the explosion with 14 were wounded and 13 never recovered.
Anyone with information that could lead to a relative should email KSroots3@aol.com.
Below is a Google Image from a river in southern Ajoncourt, though likely not the scene of the explosion, since the incident description indicates the mines exploded just outside of the town.