A US World War II veteran will travel to Australia to reunite with his wartime girlfriend after more than 70 years.
The Virginian-Pilot newspaper reports that 93-year-old Norwood Thomas will travel to Adelaide next month to reunite with 88-year-old Joyce Morris.
Thomas, who now lives in Virginia, told Morris that he would love to see her again in person when the two recently spoke via Skype.
The pair reconnected after Morris, nee Durrant, asked her son if it was possible to find people on the internet.
According to US broadcaster ABC News, her son was able to find Thomas because he had made the news by skydiving at the age of 88.
Morris’s son then got in touch with Thomas’s son and they set up the Skype call for the former lovers.
The pair originally met just outside London in 1944, a few months before Thomas parachuted into Normandy with the 101st Airborne Division.
“I was out with a friend, and being young, we had our eyes out for young ladies,” he told the ABC.
“We were on a bridge crossing the Thames when we looked down and saw these two fine, young ladies.
“We went down, paddled around the Thames in rowboats for a bit, later got some drink and food and Joyce and I just clicked.”
But after the war they went their separate ways – Thomas said he wrote to Morris and asked her to move to the United States as his wife but she declined, saying she had just begun training as a nurse.
“I realised I had more feelings for her than she did for me,” he said.
He later married another woman, with whom he was together for 56 years before her death at the age of 75.
After she died he began thinking about his long lost love.
“She’d always pop up as a pleasant memory, and it turns out that she’d been thinking of me this whole time too.
“Her son looked me up on the internet and contacted me. I found out she’s been living in Australia.”
In the Skype conversation Morris told Thomas that she’d married and then divorced, and that she now kept a photo of him that she said ‘good morning’ to every day.
Both have suffered from ill health in recent years; Thomas has battled prostate cancer and Morris is nearly blind.
But after their story went public two months ago, more than 300 people made donations online to help the two rekindle their romance. Others mailed cheques directly to Thomas’ house.
About $US7,500 ($A10,845) has been donated.
The Virginian-Pilot reports Air New Zealand has also made arrangements to send Thomas and his son to Australia free of charge. Thomas and Morris are expected to spend Valentine’s Day together.