Peggy searched for 60 years to find answers about her husband. (Courtesy Mrs. Harris/dod.mil)
World War II Widow Journeys to Normandy is the story of a 60-year search for the final resting place of 1st Lt. Billie Dowe Harris. If you read only one thing about World War II and Normandy as the 70th anniversary of D-Day approaches, I hope it’s about 1st Lt. Harris and his devoted wife, Peggy.
Peggy and Billie Harris were married just six weeks before 1st Lt. Harris left to serve in World War II. On July 17, 1944, 1st Lt. Harris flew a mission over Nazi-occupied France, from which he never returned.
For more than 60 years, Peggy has been on a journey to find answers to her husband’s whereabouts.
He was first reported as missing, and then reported as alive and coming home. But Peggy later received a letter saying he was killed and buried at a certain cemetery, then another letter that said he was buried in another cemetery, and then was told that those remains weren’t her husband’s after all.
And then Alton (Billie’s cousin) reached out and decided to request Billie’s military records,” Peggy said. “They told Alton in September (2005) that it would take six months, and then they called him back and said ‘you’ll never believe this, but six months ago a woman from France asked for these files and we sent copies to her’.”
Peggy and Alton attained the woman’s name and contacted her. They were then informed that 1st Lt. Harris was buried in Normandy.
Read the rest of this story here on the Department of Defense website, and the CBS interview with Mrs. Harris and an account of her trip to Normandy below.