An American veteran, 97, and French woman, 92, who fell in love during World War II, have been reunited for the first time in 75 years, and if this isn’t proof that true love never dies, then I don’t know what is.
During the war, an American soldier fell deeply in love with a local 18-year-old French girl when he was stationed in her hometown.
Now, 75 years on, KT Robbins has once again come face to face with the woman who’s occupied his mind for more than half a century.
Robbins was just a 24-year-old soldier in the US army when he first laid eyes on Jeannine Ganaye, in the north east town of Briey in 1944.
Robbins had been in need of someone to wash his clothes when Jeannine’s mum stepped in to help. It wasn’t long before the pair fell in love, but two months later Robbins was forced to leave the village and make his way to the Eastern Front to fight against the Axis Powers.
Speaking to French TV channel France 2, Robbins said:
I told her maybe I’ll come back and take you, but it did not happen like that.
When he left in the truck I cried, of course, I was very sad. I wish, after the war, he hadn’t returned to America.
When the war came to an end in 1945, she even began learning English, in the hopes he would one day come back for her.
But instead, Robbins, who enlisted in the 26th Infantry, First Division in 1940 and later volunteered to serve in a bakery battalion, returned to his native US.
There, he met his wife of 70 years, Lillian. The pair worked side by side in a hardware store in Mississippi for 50 years before she passed away aged 92 in 2015.
Jeannine also fell in love once again, and married in 1949 before going on to have five children.
However, Robbins never forgot about his romance in France, keeping a black and white photo of Jeannine tucked away for seven decades.
He showed the very same photo to a group of French journalists who were reporting on WW2 veterans in the US, telling them he’d like to return to her village to ‘find her family’ while he was in France for the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
He assumed that Pierson had passed away, adding: ‘For sure I won’t ever get to see her.’
But sure enough, the journalists tracked down Jeannine at a retirement home in Montigny-lès-Metz, Moselle, about 27 miles from where the pair first met.
The emotional reunion was caught on camera as they gazed into each other’s eyes for the first time in 75 years.
‘I always loved you. You never got out of my heart,’ Robbins told his long-lost love.
When asked why he never came back for her, Robbins said: ‘You know, when you get married, after that you can’t do it anymore.’
After a few hours together, Robbins had to head off to the anniversary celebrations in Normandy, but the widowed pair promised to meet again, sharing a tender kiss for the first time in 75 years.
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining the LADbible Group team in 2017.