David Cox’s prized gold ring was returned to his family 70 years after the WWII POW traded it for a couple of chocolate bars. The gold aviator’s ring was a gift from Cox’s parents, but after a year and a half behind barbed wire, he had reached his breaking point.
While Cox would never see the ring again, his family was much more fortunate. Last week, several family members gathered at the home of David C. Cox Jr.
They watched as the airman’s 67-year-old son dug through a small yellow package from Germany to remove a small plastic box, reports The Huffington Post.
The story of the ring’s return is one that involves a former enemy’s generosity, the power of time, and the reach of the internet. The elder Cox enlisted in the Army Air Corps after the December 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
He graduated from flight school on July 26, 1942 and married his high school sweetheart on the same day. In order to celebrate his commission, David Cox’s parents presented him with the gold signet ring. Engraved inside were the words, “Mother & Father to David C. Cox Greensboro, NC.”
The New York Daily News notes that Cox’s plane was shot down on July 28, 1943 and he parachuted into a rose garden. But he was taken prisoner and sent to a POW camp. He remained there until April of 1945.
While he had an exact copy created when he returned home, David Cox’s ring was lost to his family until an American family, Mark and Mindy Turner, moved to the tiny Bavarian village of Hohenberg.
They were invited to dinner by an older couple, Martin and Regina Kiss, who showed them David Cox’s prized ring. In an attempt to find the original owner, Mark Turner took to the internet, hitting pay dirt in less than 20 minutes.
He discovered a thesis by a man named Norwood McDowell, who mentioned the chocolate bar anecdote. After exchanging emails with McDowell, Turner got in contact with the Cox family and the ring was on its way home.
After opening the package, David Cox Jr. cradled the ring in his hands an commented, “I feel his presence. I wish he was here.” But while his father won’t return again, the ring is a special reminder.
[Image via ShutterStock]