WWII Veteran Has Kept a Photograph of a 14-Year-Old in His Pocket for 78 Years – Then His Mystery Girl Showed Up
World War II veteran is reunited with the French woman he kept close to his heart for nearly eight decades.
She was 92 years old. He was 99 years old. But when he held out a piece of bread smeared with jam, she instantly recognized him. The memories of nearly eight decades ago came flooding back.
Back then, Reginald Pye was a young soldier who had recently landed on the D-Day beaches of Normandy in northwestern France. As he and his company pushed inland, they cleared landmines and built bridges to help the Allied forces gain a foothold on the continent.
Huguette Geoffroy was a 14-year-old girl in the rural village of Vrigny. When Pye and his fellow soldiers stopped in the village for the night, she shyly spied on him as he ate his meagre rations of sardines and bread. When Pye saw the girl, he generously held out his tin of sardines to her, but she shook her head at him.
Puzzled, Pye looked down again at his mess tin and realized that the French girl probably wanted his slice of bread covered in jam. “She hadn’t seen jam, perhaps,” Pye thought. He held the bread out to her, and this time she accepted the gift.
A Frustrating Search for the Mystery Girl
The girl disappeared, but the next morning, Pye found fresh milk in his mess tin, along with a black-and-white photo of the girl. It took his breath away.
“In the bleakest of times, this bit of human interaction made a huge mark on my life,” he said. He tucked the photo into his wallet where it stayed for the next 78 years. Pye never stopped thinking about the girl.
Thirty years after the war, the war veteran decided to return to Normandy to look for the mystery girl. He showed the picture to residents and inquired at the local parish but there were no leads.
After an extensive but unsuccessful search, Pye gave up hope of ever finding the French woman who had had such an impact on him during his days in the war. Still, he held onto the photograph.
More than 50 more years would pass before Pye made his way back to the D-Day beaches in France, this time for a ceremony commemorating that fateful day. He shared the story with a taxi driver, pulling the worn photo out of his wallet yet again.
Even after all these years, if he could have one wish, it would be to see this woman again.
A New Lead and a Happy Ending
The taxi driver was so touched by the story that he shared the photo with the local press. It didn’t take long for the French woman’s daughter to identify her. Huguette Geoffroy was now 92 years old and living in a retirement home. Pye was finally going to have his chance to meet her.
It was a beautiful moment for both of them when volunteers arranged a meeting between Pye and his mystery girl. Just like at their meeting nearly eight decades ago, Pye presented Geoffroy with a piece of jam-covered bread. She smiled as she accepted it, and the two talked for hours, sharing photos of their lives over the years. Pye showed Geoffroy the photo of her that he had kept in his wallet all these years.
“We got older, but we’re still the same,” Geoffroy told him with a smile. She couldn’t believe that he had been trying to find her for so long. “Next time,” she joked, “we’ll get married.”
It’s never too late for dreams to come true.
More from Goalcast: