Darley Dale: Wedding ring to be returned to family after 70 years

Dorothy Webster, ww2 brother john may have been found
Dorothy Webster, ww2 brother john may have been found

The wedding ring of a lost World War Two airman which was missing in Albania for 70 years could soon be returned to his family.

The UK Embassy in Tirana, Albania, is seeking to repatriate the ring to the family of Flight Sergeant John Thompson, of Darley Dale, who was declared ‘missing in action’ towards the end of the war.

His now 92-year-old sister Dorothy Webster, of Matlock Green, said: “It would be nice to get the ring back and the best thing about it is we do know the end of him, which is amazing. We never thought we would.”

Flt Sgt Thompson, of Darley Dale, was only 23 years old and working as a flight engineer on an RAF Halifax Ml11 of the 148 Squadron when it is believed to have gone down following a mission over the Balkans on October 29 1944.

Decades later, an aeroplane crash site was discovered in the Albanian mountains, with a wedding ring nearby with the names ‘John and Joyce’ inscribed in it.

Chris Casey, of the US Embassy in Tirana, researched Flt Sgt Thompson’s background and found that he had indeed been married to a woman named Joyce, of Hackney, London. Following an appeal in the Matlock Mercury, numerous members of the airman’s family contacted the paper.

A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “We can confirm that an Albanian national is seeking to return the wedding ring, in his possession, of a UK airman who was killed in a crash in Albania during World War Two. We are seeking, with partners, to identify a suitable relative to whom the ring should be returned.”