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A World War II veteran often joked with his children that “your mother was almost an Englishwoman” and thought about the girl he left behind. Now they are getting reunited – more than 70 years later.

93-year-old Norwood Thomas thinks back fondly to his time in the Army. A member of the Army’s 101st Airborne Division, he jumped in Normandy to kick off the invasion of Europe.

When it was time to go home, he was forced to leave behind Joyce Morris, a “pretty little thing” who stole his heart during a whirlwind romance before the invasion.

The pair met on the Thames

Joyce admitted to thinking about Norwood over the years, according to The Virginia Pilot:

Then, a few weeks ago, as her son Rob worked on his computer, she asked:

“Can you find people on that thing?”

He typed in “Norwood Thomas, 101st Airborne,” which led to an old Virginian-Pilot story about a D-Day paratrooper who went skydiving for his 88th birthday. Rob contacted a newspaper reporter in Virginia, who then called Norwood on his cellphone.

He was shopping at The Home Depot when he took the call.

“Joyce Durrant?” he said, mulling her maiden name. A few seconds later, Norwood gasped: “Oh my God.”

He went home that afternoon, pulled a bag of old photographs out of his closet, then flipped through the stack until he saw her face. Joyce had given him the photo before he went off to battle.

After all these years, the picture is in near-perfect condition.

A Skype call was quickly arranged and the two spoke for the first time in seven decades.

“I just wish I could give you a hug and tell you good night,” Norwood says as he ends the call. “But since I can’t, I’ll just say, ‘You take care.’”

Thanks to a successful GoFundMe campaign and generous offers of free transportation from Air New Zealand, the pair will soon be reunited in person.