’Finding Sconiers’ chronicles return of remains to DeFuniak Springs
DEFUNIAK SPRINGS — When the remains of 1st Lt. Ewart Sconiers were interred last year at Southwide Baptist Church, 74 years after he died in a German POW camp during World War II, the story of a family’s efforts to bring him home, an effort that included an array of strangers and the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, came to an end.
But the story does live on, not only in the hearts of those involved in the improbable story that saw Sconiers returned to his hometown of DeFuniak Springs, but in a documentary scheduled for a free public screening at 5 p.m. Saturday at the First Baptist Church, 216 Live Oak Ave. in Defuniak Springs.
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The film, "Finding Sconiers," by journalists Jennifer Holton of Tampa Bay’s Fox TV station and Ky Sisson of Reno, Nevada’s ABC-TV affiliate, won the Outstanding Documentary award at this year’s World War II International Film Festival in Normandy, France, competing among 50 documentaries for the honor. Holton will be at the church Friday to present the documentary.
Sconiers, who served in the U.S. Army Air Corps, was captured on Oct. 21, 1942 when the B-17 bomber where he was working as a bombardier was shot down. He was held in Stalag Luft III, the German prison camp made famous by the movie "The Great Escape."
RELATED PHOTOS - Ewart Sconiers parade through downtown DeFuniak Springs
Sconiers died under mysterious circumstances on Jan. 24, 1944, and his grave wasn’t discovered until August of 2015, after tireless efforts by his family, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, and a group of people who came to be known as "Ewart’s Army."
"Finding Sconiers" tells the story of that search, including the challenges faced in bringing his remains back to the United States and the emotional January 2018 homecoming and re-interment of his remains.
The crowd-funded documentary, shot for $6,000, is, however "about far more than one hero or one family," according to an announcement of the upcoming screening. According to the announcement, "Finding Sconiers" is about "those values unequivocally embraced by the citizens of Walton County, values for which our military are willing to pay the ultimate price, and about the role of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency’s commitment to keeping America’s sacred promise to them and their families."