Fallen World War II marine identified and returning home to Scranton

Harold Hannon positively identified in October

JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) - Nearly 75 years after a Scranton marine was killed during World War II, he will finally be brought home and laid to rest this week in Lackawanna County. 

Family members of Marine Corps Private First Class Harold Hannon had been looking for answers for decades and finally got them late last year.

Harold Hannon was positively identified in October. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency worked with his nephew who currently lives in Jefferson Township.

Harold Hannon's remains will return to the Philadelphia airport on Wednesday afternoon and he will be laid to rest at Cathedral Cemetery on Saturday.

"I never expected it. Not in my wildest dreams. I never expected that!" Bill Hannon said.

Bill Hannon is 76-years-old.

He was only two when his uncle, PFC Harold Hannon, died during World War II.

For most of Bill Hannon's life he never knew what happened until his niece started looking for answers about a year ago.

"Quite amazing. I'm still trying to fathom all of these happenings, you know," Bill Hannon said.

In November 1943, Harold Hannon was a marine who landed against stiff Japanese resistance in the Battle of Tarawa.

His family now knows he died on the first day.

Previously, they thought he might have died and been buried at sea.

"They successfully got on the island and they were in the process of trying to take over an air base there that the Japanese were using," Bill Hannon said.

This past November, military officials arrived at Bill Hannon's home in Jefferson Township.

They brought details on his uncle's death and the medals he earned, including the Purple Heart.

They even returned a ring found with Hannon's body.

"It's a marvelous feeling just knowing that he'll be brought home and put to rest with his family and that we know now what happened," Ruth Hannon said.

The Hannons' are a big military family.

Bill served as did his father and other uncles.

He knows that bringing his late uncle home to Scranton for a proper burial is important.

"At least we know what happened, closure" Bill Hannon said.

Roughly 1,000 Marines and sailors were killed in that battle that claimed Harold Hannon's life.

Scientists used dental records and a DNA sample from his nephew to make the positive identification.

The public is invited to the services for PFC Harold Hannon.

A viewing will take place Friday night from 4:00 until 7:00 PM.

A funeral mass will be held at 11:00 AM Saturday with burial to follow.


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