Pilot’s ring returned to family

Published: Monday 9th March 2015 by The News Editor

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The family of a British pilot considered missing in action for more than 70 years have finally been reunited with the ring he was wearing when his plane crashed.

The plane special operation pilot Sgt John Thompson was flying crashed in Albania on October 29, 1944 whilst transporting assistance to local anti-Nazi fighters.

Today, his 92-year-old sister Dorothy Webster received his ring from a family in Albania together with a box of debris from his Halifax bomber.

In 1960, Jaho Cala found Mr Thompson’s finger with the ring on it at Sinoi Mountain, 25 miles north of the Albanian capital Tirana. He kept the ring and hid it at his home, afraid to show it to the then-communist authorities.

Mr Cala asked his son Xhemil to look for the family of the owner, and after his father died, Xhemil contacted the embassies of the US and Britain – the two countries that helped liberate Albania from the Nazis a month after Mr Thompson’s death.

After three months, the British embassy confirmed the ring was Mr Thompson’s and told his family.

Ms Webster, a year younger than her brother, was accompanied by four of his nephews and other family members at a ceremony at the Albanian Defence Ministry today.

“She was over the moon when they told us, ringing everybody,” Ms Webster’s son Brian said.

“Our grandfather and grandmother never locked the house in Matlock, Derbyshire, waiting for their missed son.”

British authorities never told them anything about their uncle “because he was part of a secret operation in Albania”, according to Philip Thompson, one of the nephews.

Published: Monday 9th March 2015 by The News Editor

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