Watch CBS News

93-year-old WWII vet reunites with wartime love

Mark Strassmann reports on a love story: An American World War II veteran and the British woman he planned to marry
American WWII veteran reunites with long-lost British flame 02:03

NORFOLK, Va. -- At 93, Norwood Thomas found love online -- the love that he lost seven decades ago.

In 1944, Thomas was a 21-year-old G.I. stationed outside of London when he met a British 17-year-old named Joyce Durant.

"I knew that she was the girl that I wanted to marry," Thomas said. Looking at a photo of her, he told CBS News that "if she looks at me like that now I don't know what it would do to me."

Norwood Thomas
Norwood Thomas holds a photo of Joyce Morris in a image taken from a GoFundMe page set up to help reunite the former lovers currently living on opposite sides of the world, 70 years after they split. Barbara Lee McDonald via GoFundMe

The war couldn't wait. He headed to Normandy and D-Day. "I said that I will see you soon and away I went. I never saw her again."

They swapped letters after the war. But communication broke down, and they married other people.

Thomas, now a widower, always remembered the girl who got away.

"I placed her on a pedestal -- untouched, pure, and unattainable because in my mind that is what she really was."

Last year -- out of the blue -- Joyce's son tracked him down on the internet. Joyce Morris, now 88 and divorced, lives in Australia. They talked to each other for the first time in 70 years on Skype.

"The only problem is that I can't take you in my arms and give you a squeeze," Thomas told her.

Problem solved. Thomas landed Tuesday in Adelaide, Australia.

Joyce Morris and Norwood Thomas after being reunited after 70 years in Australia
Joyce Morris and Norwood Thomas after being reunited after 70 years in Australia, Feb. 10, 2016. Air New Zealand

"Well, you are still vertical," Joyce said when they met and shared a long embrace.

"You know, to find someone who loves you and you love them in the latter years of your life, it would rather be special wouldn't it," Joyce said in an interview with Australian media.

They'll spend Valentine's Day together, and why not? Americans and Brits have always had a "special relationship."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.