In a letter dated eight days after the one my grandmother received from the adjutant general’s office—explaining the campaigns Babe had participated in—the quartermaster’s office gave her information about Babe’s place of burial. That letter was dated Oct. 16, 1946.
It was the first time my grandparents knew where Babe had been laid to rest since his death on May 4, 1945.
Dear Mrs. Mauro:
Your letter to The Adjutant General concerning your son, the late Technician Fifth Grade Frank D. Mauro, has been referred to this office.
The official Report of Burial discloses that the remains of your son were interred in Plot C, Row 11, Grave 414, in the United States Military Cemetery Mirandola, located approximately eighteen miles northeast of Modena, Italy.
Please accept my sincere sympathy in the loss of your son.
FOR THE QUARTERMASTER GENERAL:
THOMAS F. LEWIN
Mirandola was a temporary military cemetery that was later consolidated—along with six other temporary cemeteries—into the Florence American Cemetery, which opened in 1957, encompassing the graves of 4,401 American service members. Kathy Kirkpatrick, the curator of the GenTracer site with details about the consolidation of temporary cemeteries, said that information originally came from a brochure about Florence from the American Battle Monuments Commission.
Florence is one of two U.S. military cemeteries in Italy along with the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and its nearly 7,900 American graves.
I cannot remember whether Babe’s “Report of Burial“—attached here as a PDF—was ever in their possession and whether they ever saw it. I received a copy in the course of this project from the U.S. Veterans Administration.
Babe was buried shortly after 11 a.m. on May 5, 1945, the day after he died, with a temporary wooden marker. As we know, Babe’s remains were later disinterred and reburied in the Long Island Military Cemetery in Farmingdale, N.Y., a process we’ll learn more about in later posts.
While reviewing Babe’s Report of Burial for this post, I noticed something I hadn’t noticed before. I was struck by a word apparently stamped on the form under the time and date of his burial: “Shroud.”
I assume that means Babe was buried in a shroud, rather than a coffin, and I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised to learn that. The number of soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen who died doubtless overwhelmed the military’s ability to provide a coffin for every casualty. Still, I was surprised.
It would be several years before Babe’s remains were returned to the United States.