Marlborough – On Feb. 15, 1944, the B-25C Mitchell bomber carrying Tech. Sgt. Alfred Sandini, a radio gunner, crashed after being struck by enemy fire in the Thanh Hoa Province of French Indochina, now the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. All six crew members on the B-25 died, but Alfred Sandini’s body was the only one never identified. Seventy-five years after the crash, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced a positive match using dental, anthropological and DNA analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence.
The day after President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s speech excoriating the Empire of Japan over the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor that led to America’s entry into World War II, Alfred R. Sandini quietly enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Forces without telling his parents. He didn’t wait for the draft. The 25-year-old Marlborough man left his parents, Benedetto and Pulcheria, and five brothers and a sister, to join the 22nd Bombardment Squadron, 341st Bombardment Group.
Back in 1944, the family waited for weeks as the War Department first reported Alfred missing in action. The family received a telegram on Feb. 24 at their home, 14 Brook St. They held onto hope he survived the crash and was living among natives waiting to be found.
A few weeks later, another telegram arrived. This one, declaring the 25-year-old killed in action. A headline in the March 4, 1944, Marlboro Daily Enterprise read: “MARLBORO BOY KILLED IN ACTION.” He was the eighth man from the city to be killed fighting in the war, according to the article.
Alfred is survived by one brother, John Sandini of Florida, and many nieces and nephews.
After 75 years, Alfred Sandini will be laid to rest with his family. His funeral will be held Saturday, July 20, at 11 a.m., in the Immaculate Conception Church, 11 Prospect St. Marlborough. Burial with full military honors will follow in the Immaculate Conception Cemetery. Visiting hours at the William R. Short and Son Funeral Home (www.shortfuneral.com), 95 West Main St., Marlborough will be held Friday, July 19, from 4-7 p.m.