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Welsh salesman mistaken for World War II veteran in Norway

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David Wilson, a Welsh salesman was recently mistaken for a World War II veteran when he visited Norway

© BBC

A Welsh salesman was recently mistaken for a World War II veteran when he visited Norway.

David Wilson, 47, and his wife Deborah, 46, were given a special welcoming party when they arrived in the Norwegian town of Tromsø.

Mr Wilson, from Penarth, was greeted by the town mayor, members of the press and other WWII veterans at their arrival, who were expecting his late uncle Captain Paddy Gingles.

"We were given a full welcoming party. It was all a bit embarrassing," he told BBC News.

Paddy Gingles, who died in 1988, was a member of the Dambusters 617 squadron, and helped sink the German battleship Tirpitz off the Norwegian coast in November 1944.

The mix-up occurred when Wilson had telephoned the Tromsø museum in advance to ask if he could research his uncle, whom he had never met.

"When we arrived, we met a real old war hero, a Norweigian army soldier who showed us around the museum and another man who had seen the Lancasters coming in to bomb the Tirpitz that day.

"Then suddenly someone came from behind us, it was the press - a cameraman came and started taking photographs of me with this old war veteran.

"I think they thought the old guy was Paddy Gingles and I was the son of the pilot coming back to see the damage they'd done on that day."

He continued: "After the war museum we went off to the mayor's office... We ended up having coffee and cakes with the lord mayor and his people. I tried to explain but it took a while before things were straightened out."

Eventually, the mayor understood the error and found the whole affair amusing, saying: "This has been fun and misunderstandings happen.

"The Wilsons were sorry for the mix-up but it was not their fault. They went back to Wales as great ambassadors for Tromsø."

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