BBC News
Launch consoleBBC News in video and audio
Last Updated: Monday, 7 January 2008, 16:57 GMT
Happy ending for wartime mystery
Chris Jones
Chris Jones said she was "incredibly proud" of her husband Frank
The Welsh widow of a soldier, who rescued a woman and baby from Stalin's Russia, has been contacted by the child her husband helped nearly 65 years ago.

In 1945, Private Frank Jones escaped from a German prisoner of war camp and spent three weeks walking to Russia.

He met Sophia Guseinova and her baby Yashar and also helped them to safety.

After his death in 1992, his widow Chris from Denbighshire, discovered the pair had survived the escape and has been invited to meet Yashar, now 63.

Mr Jones, who died aged 72, was originally from Birkenhead, Merseyside. He had enlisted in the Royal Artillery in 1939, but was later captured in north Africa and spent four years as a prisoner of war.

In 1945, he had an operation on his foot in the camp, and was told he might not walk again.

I was having second thoughts about telling this story because my husband never wanted it to be told
Chris Jones

But he escaped from the camp and, with two companions, walked 700km (435 miles) east through Germany and Poland to Russia.

On their trek, they met a nurse called Sophia and her new-born baby Yashar.

She had been raped by soldiers and was fleeing Russia. Her husband Samandar, a doctor, had been taken as a prisoner of war.

Both she and Pte Jones spoke German and convinced checkpoint guards they were married.

When they reached the Black Sea port of Odessa, Pte Jones also persuaded the British Consul they were married and she and Yashar were granted passage to Glasgow.

However, she was refused permission to stay and was ordered to return to Russia in 1945.

Private Frank Jones
Frank Jones often wondered what became of Sophia and her baby

Pte Jones had no idea what became of Sophia and her baby, and refused to talk publicly about his war time experiences.

In recordings he made before his death, he said: "She (Sophia) was crying and screaming.

"She always told me she would never go back to Russia and would throw herself and the baby off the ship.

"What happened to her I don't know and I doubt I ever will know."

However, last year Pte Jones's son, Philip decided to solve the mystery of what became of Sophia, and enlisted the help of an archivist at Stanford University in America.

They discovered that Sophia and Yashar returned safely to Russia, and were reunited with Sophia's husband Samandar.

"Incredibly proud"

Philip managed to trace the family and contact Yashar, now 63.

Emails were exchanged and on New Year's Day Yashar telephoned Pte Jones's widow Chris.

Mrs Jones, 81, said: "It was wonderful to hear his voice."

She added: "I was having second thoughts about telling this story because my husband never wanted it to be told.

"I kept it to myself all these years, but then a neighbour persuaded me that it deserved to be told.

"I have said to my son Philip in the past, 'I wonder what happened to that lady and her baby.'

"He said 'I'm tired of hearing you say that, so I'm going to find out for you.'

Mrs Jones said she was "incredibly proud" of what her husband had done, and, although Sophia and her husband are no longer alive, she was pleased the story had a happy ending.

Yashar has now invited her to Azerbaijan to meet the family.

She said: "If I was 20 years younger I might have accepted the offer straight away. But you never know."

'Proud' grandson wears 1920 medal
10 Nov 07 |  North East Wales
Badge honours Bevin Boys' service
08 Feb 07 |  North West Wales
Hero's medals spark big response
03 Mar 05 |  Mid Wales
Charge survivor's medals sold
02 Mar 05 |  North East Wales
In Pictures: Wartime exhibition
19 Feb 05 |  In Pictures


Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific