Australian man honors WWII serviceman in Charleston, MO

CHARLESTON, MO (KFVS) - An Australian man traveled half way across the world to honor a Heartland serviceman who died in a plane crash more than seven decades ago.

Every year, Col Benson comes to the U.S. to remember the people who were killed when a B-17 Flying Fortress went down in Australia back in 1943.

On Monday, July 3 he visited the grave of PFC Charles Williams in Mississippi County.

Forty people were killed in the crash, and in Benson's country there is memorial paying tribute to what was the deadliest aviation disaster in Australia's history, but Benson said that wasn't always the official story.

"Now the family of Charles McDonnell Williams here, we're in the IOOF cemetery in Charleston, they believe their brother had been murdered, that he'd been wounded, he was on board an aircraft and it was a tangle up of the stories from a few years before that said that aircraft had been attacked by five Japanese zeros and they believe he was  shot down and murdered," Benson said.

Because of war-time restrictions, the crash went officially unreported by the media.

A memorial was unveiled in Washington D.C. at the World War II Memorial, back in 2006 and it now sits at an Entrance to Arlington National Cemetery.

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