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WWII veteran reconnects with wartime girlfriend in Australia

Posted at 10:06 PM, Mar 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-04 22:06:11-05

Virginia Beach, Va. - Norwood Thomas has been waiting to hug Joyce Durrant for more than 70-years, last week he finally got the chance.

"It felt good," laughed Thomas. "She squeezed back."

Thomas and Durrant had plans of marrying when they first met during World War II. Thomas, a member of the 101st Airbone Division, was stationed outside of London where the two fell in love. One weekend, Thomas was pulled into battle, he never saw Durrant again and never had the chance to say goodbye.

In November, Thomas and Durrant were able to reconnect on Skype. Their story touched the lives of many people and even prompted one local veteran to start a GoFundMe page to fly Thomas out to Australia.  Air New Zealand even got on board, and arranged to fly Thomas and his son out to Australia in February so that the two could reconnect in person.

"The trip over was a bit exhausting, but once we got there it was wonderful," said Thomas.

For more than two weeks, the two were finally able to be together again. They traveled together, caught up on the last 70-years and even had a special Valentine's Day dinner. As their time together started coming to an end, reality began to set in.

"Our relationship was very pleasant but the great romance did not rekindle," said Thomas. "We both understand that with our age, we could never get together again to stay together."

But being realistic about their future didn't make saying goodbye any easier.

"To realize that this was goodbye, it was hard," explained Thomas with tears in his eyes.

If given the chance, Thomas says he would take the next flight out to the other side of the world, just so he could be back together with Durrant.

"I would go back tomorrow if I had the opportunity," Thomas said.

Currently, there are no official trips planned for either Thomas or Durrant. In the meantime, Thomas says he will be writing Durrant letters and continue talking to her through Skype.