After 70 Years, Wartime Lovers Unite Thousands of Miles Away

Norwood Thomas didn’t care much for the scorching weather on the southern coast of Australia, when he finally reached his journey’s end along with his son.

PHOTO: Bill Tiernan / The Virginian-Pilot


It had took him 70 years – and four long flights – to finally set his eyes on his World War II love. Thomas is a 93 year old Veteran from Virginia who met Joyce during his army duty in the World War II.

“I’d preferably pass on making a trip to Australia than live lounging around at home pondering what might have happened”, Thomas said, before he exited for the journey.

The first time they met was in London, just prior to the Normandy invasion, also referred to as the D-day. At the time, Joyce Morris was a 17 year old English girl and Thomas still remembers her as a “pretty little thing”. He himself was 21 and was a paratrooper with the hundred and first Airborne.

Thomas was just enjoying his leave along with his friend, Jack, strolling along the River Thames when he first set his gaze on her. Morris was looking for a rowboat with her friend, Iris. They started chitchat and meanwhile got in a boat together, while Jack joined Iris. From there on, they would meet whenever they got a chance.

Thomas joined the Allied forces in the invasion of Normandy in May, 1944, and while he leapt with parachutes directly into war lands on parts of German-controlled France to combat the Nazis, Morris prayed for his safety. Eventually, he did survive.

PHOTO: Bill Tiernan / The Virginian-Pilot
PHOTO: Bill Tiernan / The Virginian-Pilot

All was perfectly well, when one day in 1945, Thomas was given orders to return home to America from England. He did not get a chance to say farewell, neither could they meet again after that. Thomas still remembers her as being special. As per him, “she was the one that got away.”

They communicated through letters after that, in one of which Thomas even sent to Morris a marriage proposal. Morris however misinterpreted this and thought that Thomas had found someone he wanted to marry. She instantly stopped responding and Thomas was left with only a picture of her.

The two moved on with their lives and got married to different people. They were soon busy in their children and work. In 2001, Thomas’ wife kicked the bucket and Morris divorced her husband after 30 years of marriage.

A year ago, Morris, with the help of her son, located Thomas on the internet. He was mentioned in The Virginian-Pilot article as an 88-year old war hero who leaped out of a plane, just for leisure. It was the same daring man she recalled from those days.

She took the step to reach out to him. Her son, Rob, placed the call and Thomas received it while shopping at a hardware store. Once he figured out who it was, he gasped in surprise. As soon as he got home, he reached for his old bag which contained some photographs. He shuffled through the pile until he got what he wanted. Right in his hand was the picture, Morris had given him before he went to war.

After this, Thomas had a skype call with Morris, who is 88 now and almost visionless. For two hours they chuckled and recalled old memories which had quite faded away, given their age.

When their story hit the public, more than hundreds of people arranged for contributions, just to sponsor Thomas’ trip to Australia, and Air New Zealand even arranged for the flight. Thomas’ son, Steve, was very excited on the generosity of the people and wanted to let them all know that Thomas was indeed leaving to visit Joyce.

Thomas was simply mesmerized on the idea and exclaimed how he longed to see her smile. He wasn’t much sure of any romantic affiliations, yet he was equally excited about sitting and talking with this old friend.

PHOTO: Bill Tiernan / The Virginian-Pilot
PHOTO: Bill Tiernan / The Virginian-Pilot

Around an hour before noon, Thomas and his son reached Adelaide, and Thomas couldn’t help in revealing the smile on his face. They had been in the air for almost two days and once they touched ground, were escorted in a waiting car to the beach-hotel where he was going to meet Joyce. The last time he saw her, he never could have imagined that it would be another seventy years before he would see her, he disclosed to Suggestive.

Morris’s face is also lit up with smiles at the hotel, as she receives Thomas. They engulf each other in a tight hug and then kiss one another’s cheeks. They were not two newly met young people any longer. Age might have pulled in wrinkles and confounded recollections, however sitting together again it was similar as to no time has passed.

“It is fabulous,” Thomas says. “Tommy has been letting me know about his life, and I have been letting him know about mine,” Morris includes. “I think he is splendid, Goodness, we have been having a decent old yarn.”

It’s been two months to the day since the sweethearts revived their relationship by means of Skype and Thomas chose to fly most of the way around the globe.

“When we talked on Skype I told her that one issue was that I couldn’t take her in my arms and give her a press. So one of the primary things I did, when I arrived, was to put my arm around her and gave her a squeeze,” Thomas says, as he pulls Morris firmly around the waist with that grin of his, sparkling on his face.

Asked whether he considers Morris still as delightful as the lady who he fell for during the ride on the Thames. Thomas delayed a little but nodded in affirmative, at which Morris told him with a flushed face that he was a liar.

Thomas proceeded, “I’ll let you know why, since when I look in the mirror and I see an aged face glancing back at me, I ponder what somebody could find in it.” Morris snickers. It is clear that Thomas is generally as enchanting as he was in 1945.

A young Joyce (PHOTO: Mashable)
A young Joyce (PHOTO: Mashable)

Like old companions, they talk about various subjects, about inside jokes and mutual recollections. Heading off to the photos, the war and how it isolated them, companions they once held dear and paddling on the Thames.

Things changed after 1945, Thomas was requested to rush home with hardly any caution. Morris prepared herself to be a medical attendant and moved with her family to Australia in 1962. They both wedded, and had altogether different lives a world far from one another.

“I have had a decent life, a great wedded life yet all through it there are times when I think back about what used to be and what might have been, and Joyce would always ring a bell,” Thomas says, before grinning at Morris.

However, Morris’ experience with her wedded life was not so great and she several times thought of the young boy she used to call “Tommy”.

“Throughout the years, I recalled,” she says, “I had a terrible marriage, and Tommy had a decent one. So obviously you recollect. However, I never thought for one minute that this was possible.” She had accepted the possibility that at this point he may have passed away, as he was continually performing adventurous tasks. “He was a thrill seeker,” she says, with a saucy flicker in her eye. “Well I used to have the capacity to do things I cannot do anymore,” Thomas teases. “There are a great deal of things we all can’t do now,” Morris concurs, not understanding she is being enchanted.

The long lost lovers plan to spend the following two weeks taking in the sights of Adelaide, before Thomas leaves on Feb. 26. “We haven’t had any tears, yet, however there may be at the point when he would be leaving,” Morris says.

Thomas did figure out how to sneak in that crush, however the couple’s first night together was significantly more quelled than 70 years prior. They talked about war, frosted tea, and the diversity in U.K. and US traditions.

“We got together, I invested a considerable amount of energy with her and it was extremely charming,” he says of his first night with Morris. “We thought back and I was truly delighted with the discussion we had.”

For those seeking a revival of a relationship after so long, Thomas says it is yet a sentimental’s fantasy. They both have different lives now.

A youthful Norwood (PHOTO: Mashable)
A youthful Norwood (PHOTO: Mashable)

“I’m enough of a realist to understand that there can be no rejoining romantically on account of her age, her family and her being currently an Australian resident and my age, and situation. All this makes it unthinkable for us to be as one,” Thomas says, painstakingly picking his words. “Along these lines, we truly appreciated this brief relationship and I hope to run home with lovely recollections and to proceed on communicating with her.”

Thomas stops, moans, then includes: “On the off chance that we were in the same nation, on the off chance that we didn’t have the differences that exist, then there might be a chance however I must be a pragmatist.”

So it appears, Joyce Morris will remain to be the “One that got away”.
[adinserter block=”2″]
[adinserter block=”7″]