East Providence WWII veteran’s remains to be buried in Exeter

The U.S. Army Human Resources Command shares this photo of Pfc. George B. Thomas.

EXETER, R.I. (WLNE) — The remains of a Rhode Island soldier killed during World War II will be buried in Exeter on Monday.

Army Pfc. George Thomas, who’s from East Providence, was assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment, 8th Infantry Division during the war.

Thomas was deployed to Huertgen, Germany, in the fall of 1944 and fought against the Germans in Huertgen Forest.

Fonda Bock, who’s with the U.S. Army Human Resources Command, said he was reported missing on Nov. 24, 1944. He was 31.

Thomas’ body wasn’t recovered during the war and the Germans never reported him a prisoner of war, said Bock.

A year later, the War Department issued a finding of death for the East Providence native.

After searching for about four years, there was no sign of Thomas. He was declared nonrecoverable on Feb. 21, 1951.

His remains, said Bock, were previously recovered in 1948 from a field south of Huertgen and were later buried in 1950 in Ardennes American Cemetery.

Bock said Thomas’ remains were disinterred in July of 2021 and sent to the DPAA laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, to be identified. He was accounted for in March of this year.

Thomas’ name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site, in Hombourg, Belgium, with others who are still missing from World War II.

Bock said a rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

After the burial at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery, the Rebello Funeral Home and Crematory in East Providence will perform graveside services.

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