US embassy searches for Matlock’s lost WW2 airman

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US officials need your help to track down the family of a lost World War Two airman as part of a cross–continental search that has spanned seven decades.

An aeroplane crash site was recently discovered in a remote area of the mountains east of Albania’s capital Tirana, and it is believed to the long lost RAF Halifax Mk11, which went missing during a mission over Albania in October 1944.

Flight Sergeant John Thompson, of Matlock, was believed to be one of the crew members on that fatal flight and now Chris Casey of the US embassy in Tirana is trying to find his family.

He said: “Flight Sergeant John Thompson was the flight engineer on an RAF Halifax MkII flying for 148 squadron on special operations over the Balkans and Italy.”

“His plane failed to return from a mission on October 29. The plane and crew were never found.

“Back in the 1960’s a wedding ring was located at a crash site somewhere near where we found our plane. Being a closed country under communist rule, the ring was hidden away for fear of reprisals from the Government.

“The ring had the names John and Joyce on it.”

After searching with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) he found that Flgt Sgt Thompson was married to a woman with the initial ‘J’.

Chris continued: “If we can show that ‘J’ was in fact Joyce, we have a match and probably found his plane and the rest of the crew, who are still listed as ‘missing in action’.”

Through the CWGC, Chris also managed to discover that Flgt Sgt Thompson’s parents were Mr and Mrs ‘J’ Thompson of Matlock and his wife was from Hackney.

“He was 23 when he died and so would have been born sometime in 1921, give or take,” Chris continued.

He is now looking for any long lost relatives of the airman to help him piece the remaining story together.

He added: “It would be splendid to finally close this chapter and then work with the CWGC to repatriate any remains in an appropriate fashion.”

Are you a family member of Flgt Sgt John Thompson or do you have information about his family?

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