Long-lost World War II vet Harris memorialized at Red Bank service

Long-lost World War II vet Harris memorialized at Red Bank service

August 29th, 2014 by Ben Benton in Local - Breaking News

U.S. Army PFC Cecil E. Harris

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

Funeral services today for long-lost World War II veteran Cecil E. Harris closed quietly just after noon with the playing of Amazing Grace as family and friends remembered the U.S. Army private from Tennessee who gave all.

Harris was killed in a counterattack during the Battle of the Bulge in Operation Nordwind. His platoon was driven from the position and was unable to recover his body. He was 19.

Harris' remains were found a year ago in Eastern France by a hiker taking a break at the base of a rock formation. The hiker noticed something in the soil beneath him and an "H" and a cross scratched into the rocks above and summoned friends and, then, military authorities.

Military investigators over the succeeding weeks identified the remains found there by dog tags, military items and DNA analysis as Harris. Work then began in earnest to bring him home.

His widow, Helen Harris Cooke, and son, William Edwin Harris, bid farewell during services at Red Bank Baptist Church. Sixty to 70 people attended.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569.