DNA match with brother brings WWII soldier's remains home

Pfc. Robert B. Bayne to be buried in family plot

March 23, 2011|By Mary Gail Hare, The Baltimore Sun

Kenneth Bayne received a call from the Army on Wednesday with news he has awaited for nearly 66 years. His elder brother, Pfc. Robert B. Bayne, who was killed in action in 1945, is coming home from World War II.

DNA taken from Kenneth and his twin brother, Calvin Bayne, has helped the Army to positively identify their brother's remains.

"They just contacted me and said Buddy will be home in a week or two," said an emotional Kenneth Bayne, 83. "On Monday, it will be 66 years to the day that he went missing."

Bayne has put a large photograph of the young man he called Buddy in the window of his Dundalk home.

"I want everybody in Dundalk to know," he said.

Robert Bayne enlisted in 1944 and served in the infantry. At 26, he volunteered for a risky mission crossing the Rhine River near Mannheim, Germany. Three of the four American soldiers on that mission were killed, but only two bodies were identified at the end of the war. Dental records of the third soldier did not match those taken from Bayne at his induction. The remains were declared unknown and buried in a military cemetery in northern France.

After meeting decades ago with the lone survivor of that skirmish, the Baynes became convinced that the unknown soldier was their brother. Army officials repeatedly denied their requests for further testing, but the brothers never gave up. DNA research finally confirmed their arguments after both men submitted samples in 2008. Last summer, the Army disinterred the remains and transported them to a lab in Hawaii for testing.

The brothers are making plans for a funeral Mass at their parish church in Dundalk and a graveside service with military honors at the family plot.

mary.gail.hare@baltsun.com

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