World War II veteran's body returned to Springfield for burial

Western Mass News Photo

The body of a Marine Private who was killed in World War II was brought back to western Massachusetts Thursday afternoon.

Private First Class Francis E. Drake was brought to Bradley International Airport from the Solomon Islands, and then to a funeral home in Springfield.

Drake was the first Marine killed from Springfield in World War II.

His body was found in October of 2017 by the land owner where he was buried in 1942.

Drake was a Purple Heart and Silver Star recipient.

On Thursday, Drake was brought back to be laid to rest in his home state and buried on American soil.

Western Mass News caught up with Drake's family at the funeral home.

"It's hard to even explain, you know I never thought this would happen. What are the odds of someone finding his remains in their backyard, it's very emotional," said Francis Drakes' nephew.

On Friday morning, a police escort will go from the funeral home to St. Michael's Cathedral on State Street for a wake and Mass.

A full Springfield Police Department escort will then lead the cars from the church to Agawam's Veteran's Cemetery for a service.

The family said they want to get the word out that if anyone knew Private First Class Francis Drake, they would really like to learn more about him.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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