A hero in a haystack: The mission for local POW's remains

DEFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Some have characterized the search for World War II POW Ewart Sconiers as trying to find a hero in a haystack. Archaeologist Dr. Jarrod Burks could attest to that.

“I was used to looking for things that are a thousand years old, but it’s just that in this case, we’re looking for one guy, in a park, in a different country, where we don’t speak the language," Burks said. "So it’s hard at every level.”

A specialist in Geophysics in archaeology, Burks was contracted by the Defense Department to use his expertise to find Sconiers in Lubin, Poland.
Photographical evidence, corroborated with witness accounts, offered a few details of the Defuniak Springs' native's burial. What Burks did know, was that Sconiers was buried in a park that was once a cemetery.

What he didn't know, was that Sconiers' body had been moved after the war.

That was a discovery researcher Marilyn Walton would make.

On an afternoon in fall of 2015, Walton sat at her desk and thought she'd take the time to do a bit of research. At the time, Burks was on another mission in Poland, digging for Sconiers. She thought maybe she could help by searching Ewart's name online one more time.

“I typed in the same search terms I’ve used, I don’t know how many times," Walton said. "Lubin, cemetery, Sconiers. And every time I did it, the same things would come up. But this time, a new website came up.”

That website, Billiongraves.com, showed a photo. It was recently uploaded. It showed a cross in Gdansk, Poland, hours north of Lubin. That cross had a plaque with the name, Edouard Sconiers.

“After the war ended, the communists took over that park of Poland and they would not allow the Americans in to claim their war-dead, but they did let the French in," Walton said. "They took him up to Gdansk Poland, and they buried him in the French military cemetery up there.”

From there, it took another two years until this hero would have his homecoming. And the town would turn out in droves.

A hero in a haystack had been found, and the mystery, forever solved.