Provenancing of unidentifiedWorld War II casualties: Application of strontium and oxygen isotope analysis in tooth enamel

L. Font Morales, G. Jonker, P.A. van Aalderen, E.F. Schiltmans, G.R. Davies

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

In 2010 and 2012 two sets of unidentified human remains of two World War II soldiers were recovered in the area where the 1944-1945 Kapelsche Veer bridgehead battle took place in The Netherlands. Soldiers of four Allied nations: British Royal Marine Commandos, Free Norwegian Commandos, Free Poles and Canadians, fought against the German Army in this battle. The identification of these two casualties could not be achieved using dental record information of DNA analysis. The dental records of Missing in Action soldiers of the Allied nations did not match with the dental records of the two casualties. A DNA profile was determined for the casualty found in 2010, but no match was found. Due to the lack of information on the identification of the casualties provided by routine methods, an isotope study was conducted in teeth from the soldiers to constrain their provenance. The isotope study concluded that the tooth enamel isotope composition for both casualties matched with an origin from the United Kingdom. For one of the casualties a probable origin from the United Kingdom was confirmed, after the isotope study was conducted, by the recognition of a characteristic belt buckle derived from a Royal Marine money belt, only issued to British Royal Marines, found with the remains of the soldier.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-17
JournalScience and Justice
Issue number55
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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