Among the many worthy charities we’re lucky to have here in the UK is the Taxi Charity. And they recently pulled out all the stops for one war veteran’s special reunion.
We featured the charity some years ago in the “Friend”, telling how London black cab taxi drivers support war veterans by arranging free trips to the Netherlands, Belgium and France for acts of commemoration. And they recently got in touch to share the lovely story below, that I just know “Friend” readers will love.
We’ll Meet Again
Reg Pye, from Burry Port, who is ninety-nine, served with the 224 Field Company, Royal Engineers as a driver carrying sappers, mines and ammunitions. He landed on Sword beach 14 days after D Day and one night as he moved through Normandy his convoy was held up in Vrigny, France, for an evening.
Their food that night, the first in two days, was a meagre piece of bread with jam and a tin of pilchards. As he was about to eat his, he saw a young girl staring at him. She looked as if she was desperately in need of food, so without hesitation Reg offered her the tin of pilchards but her eyes remained fixed on the sandwich. So, Reg gave her his bread and jam and she hurried away.
The next morning, he awoke to find a picture of her, with a message on the back. His mess tin was half full of milk — a gift to thank him for sharing his dinner with her.
Taxi Charity Pulls Out All The Stops
During the annual Taxi Charity trip to Normandy in June this year volunteer taxi driver Paul Cook heard the story of this chance meeting. And of Reg’s greatest wish to meet her again. Paul spoke to the charity and they launched a media campaign to try to find her. Aided by people who had read the moving request for help, Huguette was finally found. And, earlier this month, Reg travelled to Normandy to meet Huguette and her family.
The reunion was very emotional. And, when they met again almost eight decades later, Reg presented Huguette with a jam sandwich. Just as he had when they first met! He then showed her the faded picture that he had kept in his wallet for 78 years. There was not a dry eye in the room.
Surrounded by her extended family, Reg and Huguette shared champagne, as friends translated conversation. Huguette said she was “extremely touched” that Reg tried to find her. Adding, “Nice to see you again after such a long time. We got older but we’re still the same.”
Made A Huge Mark On My Life
WWII Veteran Reg 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.
“I went back to Normandy about fifty years afterwards to try and trace her but wasn’t successful. I cannot believe that she has finally been found. I’d like to thank everyone who has helped to make my dream come true.”
It just goes to show how small acts of kindness can last a lifetime and help sustain us through difficult times.
You can view a video of Reg and Huguette’s reunion here.
The Taxi Charity also organise days out to museums, concerts, or fundraising events across the UK, so that veterans can catch up with friends and comrades. To find out more about the support the Taxi Charity offers to veterans or to donate visit www.taxicharity.org
For the recent Remembrance Day, we also featured war poems which you can read here.