Unknown British WWII soldier identified

April 2, 2007 at 2:28 PM
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LONDON, April 2 (UPI) -- A British soldier slain in World War II has been identified after more than 60 years of being referred to as "The Unknown Englishman."

Capt. John Armstrong was one of 14 prisoners killed by German forces in Rome in 1944, The Times of London reported Monday. The Gestapo killed the prisoners when it became apparent that they were slowing their escape, the newspaper said.

Plaques on the site of the massacre listed the names of the dead. Included on the marker was "L'Inglese Sconosciuto" -- The Unknown Englishman.

Col. Tom Huggan, a retired British army officer and a historical consultant at the British Embassy in Rome, said evidence amassed by researchers indicated "with reasonable certainty" that Armstrong had been an intelligence officer working with anti-Fascist Resistance in Italy.

"At last we can put a name to the British officer who was held at the infamous Gestapo prison at Via Tasso in Rome but brutally murdered just as our lads arrived to liberate Rome," said Harry Shindler, spokesman for the Italy Star Association, which represents World War II veterans who fought in Italy.

Local authorities have agreed to change "The Unknown Englishman" plaque to "Captain John Armstrong."

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