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With love, honor and determination, remains of soldier from Buffalo killed in WWII return home

(Holy Sepulchre Cemetery /Facebook)

A U.S. Army private killed in action during World War II has come home to Buffalo.

Pfc. Bartholomew C. Loschiavo — age 24 when he was hit by an artillery shell during a battle against German troops near Grevenmacher, Luxembourg — was buried in the European country as an unknown soldier, leaving family members to wonder for decades if he might still be alive.

“The reason was, he was reported missing in action in 1944,” said his great-nephew, David Loschiavo, of West Seneca.

Pfc. Loschiavo was recently identified through DNA and other means. His body was returned to the Buffalo Niagara International Airport on Thursday evening with full military honors, befitting a soldier killed in action.

He will be buried next weekend in Western New York, following an 80-year saga that included his sacrifice, the kindness of citizens he helped liberate from the Nazis and loved ones determined to learn more about his fate after the Army first believed Loschiavo either was captured or died.

Born May 27, 1920, Loschiavo was the second youngest of 11 children of Sicilian immigrants Agostino Loschiavo and the former Concetta Caito. He grew up in Dante Place, a tenement in the Buffalo Canal District, where the Marine Drive apartments now stand.

Everyone in the family — which now numbers more than 200 nieces, nephews and their children and grandchildren — has heard the story of Uncle Bart, his great-nephew said.

David Loschiavo’s father, Augustine, was 6 when his uncle died.

“He remembers Uncle Bart would pick him up and walk him around town anytime he went over to their house,” David Loschiavo said.

He said many in the family wouldn’t accept that Uncle Bart had died because one of his buddies, a fellow soldier who fought in the same battle, saw him get struck by a shell and crawl to the side of a road near a hill. Enemy fire was so heavy, his unit had to move out quickly. When they returned, they could not find him.

His body was found by Grevenmacher residents, who buried him at a local cemetery in an unmarked grave.

The U.S. military learned about his remains after the war, and transferred them to the Luxembourg American Cemetery, still without knowing his identity.

Back in Western New York, loved ones continued to wonder about his whereabouts. When they went out of town, Bart’s sisters called and wrote to every Bartholomew Loschiavo they could find in the telephone book, hoping they would find their brother, David Loschiavo said. Bart’s brother once jumped in a car in the 1950s and drove to California with a brother-in-law because they had a tip Bart was there.

“This whole generation, I think they all went to their graves thinking he was probably still alive,” the great-nephew said.

Augustine Loschiavo started trying to find out what happened to his uncle in in 1996, knowing there could be unmarked graves where American soldiers were buried. He didn’t get far.

Then, in 2020, his son, Donald — David’s brother — started searching online and discovered how to get records on Bart.

He learned his great-uncle entered the military Sept. 16, 1940, and served with Company A, 1st Battalion, 329th Infantry Regiment, 83rd Infantry Division, in the European Theater. He found out about the battle where he was injured. He read reports that said an American soldier had been buried in a local cemetery and transferred after the war to the Luxembourg American Cemetery.

Donald Loschiavo contacted the U.S. Department of Defense, which exhumed the soldier’s body, flew it to the United States and asked the Loschiavo family to provide DNA samples.

Military investigators also checked dental records and X-rays before positively identifying Bart. They notified the family in April that they confirmed a match.

A procession from the airport to Lakeside Memorial West Seneca Chapel on Thursday evening included Erie County sheriff’s deputies and Patriot Guard members.

Visitation will take place at the funeral home from 10 to 11:30 a.m. June 1, after which Pfc. Loschiavo, who traveled to Europe and back, will be buried with his parents at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Cheektowaga.


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