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WWII vet, 99, reunites with mystery woman after 78 years — and one jam sandwich

Talk about nosh-talgia.

A World War II veteran is warming hearts online by reuniting with a French woman whose photo he kept in his wallet for 78 years — after he gifted her a jam sandwich in 1944.

“I cannot believe that she has finally been found,” exclaimed Reginald Pye, 99. His touching homecoming with Huguette Geoffroy, 92, unfolds in a YouTube clip that has gone viral since it was posted Thursday.

The South Wales native initially encountered Geoffroy in June 1944 while serving with the 224 Field Company in the Royal Engineers during the Battle of Normandy.

Pye had been traveling through Normandy, two weeks after D-Day, when he spied a 14-year-old girl eyeing him as he tucked into a dinner of jam-coated bread and canned sardines. She looked hungry, so Pye, 21 at the time, offered her his tin of fish. However, the girl shook her head and continued to stare longingly at Pye’s jam sandwich.

“She hadn’t seen jam, perhaps,” recalled Pye, who gave her the treat, whereupon she “took it and ran back” to where she came from.

"I cannot believe that she has finally been found," Reginald Pye, 99, exclaimed.
“I cannot believe that she has finally been found,” Reginald Pye, 98, exclaimed.
YouTube / Taxi Charity
Pye first encountered Huguette while traveling through Normandy, two weeks after D-day.
Pye first encountered Huguette Geoffroy while traveling through Normandy two weeks after D-Day.
YouTube / Taxi Charity

When Pye awoke the next morning, he discovered the mystery teen had filled his mess tin with milk. She also left a photo of herself, which had a message scrawled on the back.

“The memory of my very brief encounter with this young girl will stay with me forever,” said Pye. “In the bleakest of times this bit of human interaction made a huge mark on my life.” He subsequently carried the memento in a wallet in his breast pocket for the next 78 years “always hoping we might meet again.”

Pye reportedly returned to the region in the 1970s, calling the local vicarage and the church to see if anyone had information on her whereabouts. Unfortunately, nobody had any leads, which caused him to all but lose hope of ever finding her.

A breakthrough occurred in June when a driver with Taxi Charity for Military Veterans heard Pye’s story while taking him to D-Day commemorations in Normandy. Knowing it was his last wish to reconnect with Geoffroy, the driver alerted the press.

Pye kept Huguette's photo in his wallet for 78 years.
Pye kept Geoffroy’s photo in his wallet for 78 years.
YouTube / Taxi Charity
Pye had initially offered the then 14-year-old Huguette canned sardines but she refused.
Pye had initially offered Geoffroy, then 14 years old, canned sardines, but she refused.
YouTube / Taxi Charity

Geoffroy’s daughter noticed the photo in the press and worked with Taxi Charity to arrange the reunion.

The long-separated wartime acquaintances met this month in Geoffroy’s retirement home in northern France. The first thing Pye did was gift her a jam sandwich — just as he had done nearly eight decades ago.

“Here’s a jam sandwich,” declared the elated vet, whereupon Geoffroy responded, per the Daily Mail, “Merci! Nice to see you again after such a long time.”

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

When asked if she remembered their first encounter, the nonagenarian responded, “Yes, a little bit,” adding that she was “extremely touched” that Pye had attempted to find her. Then they celebrated the joyous occasion by drinking Champagne with their extended families.

Huguette and Pye reunite for the first time since they met in Normandy in 1944. The WW2 vet gave her a piece of bread with jam -- just as he'd done all those years ago.
Geoffroy and Pye reunite for the first time since they met in Normandy in 1944. The WWII vet gave her a piece of bread with jam — just as he’d done all those years ago.
YouTube / Taxi Charity
"The memory of my very brief encounter with this young girl will stay with me forever," said Pye.
“The memory of my very brief encounter with this young girl will stay with me forever,” said Pye.
YouTube / Taxi Charity

At one point, Geoffroy quipped that she’d leave her boyfriend at the care home so the two could get married.

Pye even offered her a can of sardines, which she rejected with a smile, just as she’d done in 1944.

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