WWII Veteran’s Valentine

 In Veterans

WWII Veteran’s Valentine

Thanks to donations from total strangers, WWII Veteran Norwood Thomas is going to meet up with his former wartime girlfriend, Joyce (Durrant) Morris, in Australia…and they are hoping to spend Valentine’s Day together, a tryst 70 years in the making.

They live almost a planet apart: Norwood is 93, lives in Virginia Beach, and Joyce, 88, lives in Adelaide, Australia. Both have health issues.

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Norwood Thomas and Joyce Durrant during WWII – waiting for their Valentine’s Day reunion 70 years later – family photos via WKOW

Love rekindled

Back in November, Joyce’s son Rob typed in Thomas’ name along with his unit, the 101st Airborne, which was an integral part of the D-Day invasion at Normandy.

Rob found an article about Norwood Thomas skydiving at 88 years old. So he contacted the reporter, and arrangements were made for a SKYPE call. The Virginia Pilot reported the story.

Norwood was nervous, and had a ‘stiff’ drink of whiskey for courage prior to the call. But their love seemed to be rekindled in the brief few moments they met again over  the computer.  She even remembered that she used to call him “Tommy.” The story was poignant, and many readers caught the vision of a reunion in person.

(Especially after Norwood mentioned to her that he’d like to give her a “little squeeze.”)

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The SKYPE call that started the ball rolling toward reunion- ABC13 screenshot

The generosity of strangers

About 300 readers created an online fund and donated $7,500 to make that reunion happen. Though it isn’t quite enough to get Norwood to Australia and back, Air New Zealand has picked up the tab for the airfare…the first class airfare.

Norwood and his son Steve will fly to Adelaide, Australia free in order to meet up with his wartime love. He says he is “stunned” by the generosity of strangers. According to the followup report in the Pilot,

“I’m numb. I have no idea what my emotions are going to be once we meet face to face.”

It’s a special Valentine for both of them, a fitting reminder that it’s never too late for love.

Related:

Computers have helped reconnect other WWII veterans and their lost loves. Like the case of U.S. Army veteran Bill Moore.

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