John Thompson, RAF pilot missing since 29th October 1944 finally identified

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by HA96, Mar 9, 2015.

  1. HA96

    HA96 Member

    The following link in German talks about that 70 years after the pilot went missing close to Tirana, Albania in 1944 his 92 year old sister receiving his wedding ring.
    Following a rough translation:
    “In 1960, a local chap found the wreckage of the Halifax and a finger with this ring about 40 km north of Tirana. Because he feared that the local authorities at the time would not appreciate his story and what he found he kept it all at home. Instead and many years later he asked his son to find his family. The British Embassy in Tirana finally identified the pilot and informed the family accordingly.
    A box with the bits of the Halifax and the ring finally came home.”



    http://www.t-online.de/nachrichten/panorama/menschen-schicksale/id_73202154/britischer-kampfpilot-nach-70-jahren-identifiziert.html

    Stefan.
     
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  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    I assume it is this man:

    Name: John Thompson
    Age: 23
    Birth Date: abt 1921
    Death Date: 29 Oct 1944
    Cemetery: The Malta Memorial Part II
    Burial Country: Malta
    Father: Mr J Thompson
    Mother: Mrs Thompson
    Regimental Number: 642357
    Region or Memorial: Memorial Register

    The attached shows also that his wife's initial was J - so possibly Joyce

    40465_291265-00074.jpg

    TD

    edited to add:
    Family tree info:

    John Thompson
    Birth: 1921 - Derbyshire, England
    Death: October 29 1944 (29 Oct 1944) - Malta (but notes Albania, listed on Malta Memorial)
     
  3. RCG

    RCG Senior Member, Deceased

    John Thompson.
    Rank:Flight Sergeant
    Service No:642357
    Date of Death:29/10/1944
    Age:23
    Regiment/Service:Royal Air Force 148 Sqdn.
    Panel Reference:Panel 3, Column 2.
    Memorial:MALTA MEMORIAL

    Additional Information:Son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Thompson, of Matlock, Derbyshire; husband of J. Thompson, of Hackney, London.
     
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  4. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    More here on http://www.network54.com/Forum/261665/thread/1079797396/2/Halifax+JP244+FS-S
    Halifax JP244 FS-S SOE Operation. The flight was part of Operation Tinker an SOE operation supporting a team of Saboteurs blowing up trains.

    BROWN, ERNEST LOGAN. Rank: Flight Sergeant. Trade: Navigator. Service No: 1494454. Date of Death: 29/10/1944. Age: 27.
    Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 148 Sqdn.
    Panel Reference: Panel 14, Column 1. Memorial: MALTA MEMORIAL.
    Additional Information: Adopted son of James Crosbie Logan and Emma Logan; husband of Joan Rostron Brown, of Levenshulme, Manchester.

    COOTE, ALFRED. Rank: Sergeant. Trade: W/Op A/G. Service No: 1894920. Date of Death: 29/10/1944.
    Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 148 Sqdn.
    Panel Reference: Panel 14, Column 2. Memorial: MALTA MEMORIAL

    DONNELLY, AUSTIN. Rank: Flight Sergeant. Trade: Bomb Aimer. Service No: 975450. Date of Death: 29/10/1944.
    Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 148 Sqdn.
    Panel Reference: Panel 14, Column 1. Memorial: MALTA MEMORIAL.
    Additional Information: Son of James Donnelly, and of Catherine Donnelly, of St. Helens, Lancashire.

    KNEE, RICHARD CHARLES. Rank: Sergeant. Trade: Dispatcher. Service No: 1331866. Date of Death: 29/10/1944. Age: 23.
    Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 148 Sqdn.
    Panel Reference: Panel 15, Column 1. Memorial: MALTA MEMORIAL.
    Additional Information: Son of Charles and Raynah Knee, of Sutton, Surrey.

    MABBS, CHARLES. Rank: Sergeant. Trade: Air Gunner. Service No: 1685949. Date of Death: 29/10/1944. Age: 31.
    Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 148 Sqdn.
    Panel Reference: Panel 15, Column 1. Memorial: MALTA MEMORIAL.
    Additional Information: Son of Charles and Margaret Mabbs; husband of Helena Mabbs, of West Derby, Liverpool. Member Pharmaceutical Society.

    STUBLEY, EDWIN JOHN. Rank: Flying Officer. Trade: Pilot. Service No: 152396. Date of Death: 29/10/1944. Age: 23.
    Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 148 Sqdn.
    Panel Reference: Panel 13, Column 2. Memorial: MALTA MEMORIAL.
    Additional Information: Son of Henry and Hilda M. Stubley, of Grantham, Lincolnshire.

    THOMPSON, JOHN. Rank: Flight Sergeant. Trade: Flight Engineer. Service No: 642357. Date of Death: 29/10/1944. Age: 23.
    Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force 148 Sqdn.
    Panel Reference: Panel 3, Column 2. Memorial: MALTA MEMORIAL.
    Additional Information: Son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Thompson, of Matlock, Derbyshire; husband of J. Thompson, of Hackney, London.
    (although not absolutely sure of aircraft serial and letter, nor of Mabbs who had trained as a navigator)
     
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  5. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    panel 3 from Malta Memorial


    THOMPSON, JOHN

    Rank:

    Flight Sergeant

    Service No:

    642357

    Date of Death:

    29/10/1944

    Age:

    23

    Regiment/Service:

    Royal Air Force



    148 Sqdn.

    Panel Reference:

    Panel 3, Column 2.

    Memorial:

    MALTA MEMORIAL

    Additional Information:

    Son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Thompson, of Matlock, Derbyshire; husband of J. Thompson, of Hackney, London.



    photo via Mr William Blackett/Mr Jinks
     

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  6. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/09/albanian-solves-uk-family-mystery-of-missing-second-world-war-airman

     
  7. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    29 October 1944

    148 Squadron
    Halifax JP244

    Part of 14 aircraft tasked to drop supplies into Albania during a daylight op. The aircraft was seen over the DZ and the crew dropped their load as planed. The Halifax was not seen again.

    Crew as posted by Kevin
     
  8. ssg keay

    ssg keay Member

    Hopefully a recovery of the crew is in the works. It would be a shame not to recover and return them. Danny
     
  9. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    I'm slightly puzzled that the UK and US Embassies were apparently able to pinpoint who the ring belonged to in "three months".
    All from a ring with two Names inscribed.... There has to be more behind that aspect.

    Thompson was the Flight Engineer and likely to have been in the front of the Halifax when it crashed/hit a mountain...
    The majority of the crew would also be there and the "box of bits" seems to have dials from instruments, again suggesting the cockpit area.
    I would expect there to have been more wreckage if this was an undiscovered site, so like Danny, I hope more is recovered.
     
  10. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Albania must have been the hardest country to legally enter postwar under the regime of Hoxha....it seemed to be a forbidden country.Consequently I would have thought that it was almost impossible for the Western Powers to be given co-operation for teams to search out for missing casualties.

    Per Ardua ad Astra.

    [In November 1991,after the fall of communism and Hoxha, the German VDK were given permission by Albania to construct a consolidated cemetery in Tirana for nearly 6000 of their identified and unidentified dead...apparently located in 173 locations.]

    [As an aside,apparently Norman Wisdom,even during the Hoxha regime had a huge following in Albania....his slapstick humorous films must have got through,even during the Hoxha regime.]
     
  11. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

  12. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

  13. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Account of the loss of the Halifax and recovery of John Thompson's wedding ring retold on BBC North Inside Out.

    A few frames included of what might be the close up of a Halifax fuselage showing the loading of containers through a dedicated container entry door at the bottom of the fuselage RAF roundel
     
  14. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-31924821

    Albanian journey to solve mystery of missing airman

    23 March 2015 Last updated at 00:04 GMT

    BBC Inside Out unravels the mysterious story of a young airman from Derbyshire which has been kept secret for 70 years.
    John Thompson was 18 at the outbreak of World War II. He married in 1944 and spent a solitary weekend with his bride, Joyce, before he went missing following a secret air mission in October 1944.

    His family has been trying to find out what happened to him ever since, but nobody was able to throw light on the fate of the plane.

    A remarkable discovery on an Albanian mountain could provide clues to what happened.

    Inside Out's Tony Roe has been to Albania with John's sister, 92-year-old Dorothy Webster, to completely solve the 70-year-old mystery.

    Credits - archive footage is courtesy of British Pathe.

    Inside Out is broadcast on BBC One East Midlands, West Midlands and Yorkshire & Lincolnshire on Monday, 23 March at 19:30 GMT and nationwide on the iPlayer for 30 days thereafter.
     
  15. Marks

    Marks Senior Member

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  16. Pat Atkins

    Pat Atkins Patron Patron

    Thanks for posting, Mark, I hadn't seen this elsewhere.

    Cheers, Pat.
     
  17. Martin Dietschi

    Martin Dietschi New Member

    I was just at a formal event organized by the British Embassy Tirana where the recovered remains of the crew of Halifax JP244 from 148 Squadron RAF were laid to rest. It's a little cemetary in Tirana Park where other wartime dead lie, both British and Albanian. The event was honoured by the Albanian government with a formal guard and band. Several government officials and representatives from various embassies attended. The British Ambassador and Mayor of Tirana spoke.
    Members of the families of the crew were also present.

    Here is a picture of RAF Regiment pallbearers marching past the Albanian guard of honour. The casket contains the remains of the crew that were recovered (I think in 2018) from the crash site, after a forest fire had laid it bare.
    [​IMG]
     

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  18. Marks

    Marks Senior Member

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