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Welsh veteran reunited with French woman after keeping her photo for 78 years

Veteran Reg Pye, 99, and Huguette, 92, reunited 78 years later

A 99-YEAR-old veteran from Burry Port who offered some of his food to a young girl in France during the Second World War has been reunited with her 78 years later.

Reg Pye served in the Battle of Normandy as a driver for the 224 Field Company, Royal Engineers, transporting sappers, mines, and ammunition.

14 days after D-Day, in June 1944, Mr. Pye was travelling through Normandy when he noticed a 14-year-old girl staring at him as he ate a piece of bread with jam and a tin of pilchards for dinner.

The 21-year-old shared his bread and jam with the girl who ran away to eat it.

The following morning, Mr Pye discovered that she had left his mess tin filled with milk and included an image of herself with a note on the back, which he kept in his wallet.

Earlier this month, the young girl was identified as 92-year-old Huguette

She was reunited with Mr. Pye in France, where he handed her another jam sandwich and showed her the photograph he had treasured for 78 years.

When meeting Huguette, Mr Pye said: “Nice to see you again after such a long time.

“We got older but we’re still the same.”

They drank champagne with their extended families and a translator.

(Left) Reg Pye and Huguette surrounded by their extended families. (Right) The image Pye kept for 78 years

Mr Pye said: “The memory of my very brief encounter with this young girl will stay with me forever.

“In the bleakest of times this bit of human interaction made a huge mark on my life, I have carried her picture in my wallet for 78 years always hoping we might meet again.”

Mr Pye attempted to find Huguette 20 years ago when he returned to Normandy, but he was  unsuccessful.

Volunteer Paul Cook, from the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, a group run by London black taxi drivers that arranges free trips for veterans to the Netherlands, Belgium, and France, heard the story and launched a social media campaign that led to the couple’s eventual reunion.

Mr Pye added: “I cannot believe that she has finally been found and I wish to thank everyone, including our friend Emma, our cab driver Paul and the Taxi Charity’s French adviser Nathalie Varniere, who have helped to make my dream come true.”

Mr Cook said: “There are no words to describe how elated I am that Reg has found Huguette, this is like a Hollywood blockbuster and I wouldn’t be surprised if this beautiful story was made into a film.”

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