“I am very grateful:” Veteran headed to Australia, to see his WWII girlfriend for first time in 70 years

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VIRGINIA — After more than 70 years Norwood Thomas is about to be reunited with his World War II girlfriend, Joyce Durrant. On Sunday, February 7th, Norwood and his son Steve boarded a plane out of Norfolk International Airport to begin their trip to the other side of the world.

“I am looking forward to it and maybe I am just a bit excited and don’t realize it yet,” said Norwood.

It is a long way to go, but for Norwood, the 20-hour trip is nothing in comparison to the years he and Joyce have spent apart.

“I’m looking more forward to seeing her than I am to the trip,” he said.

Their reunion is all thanks to Joyce’s son, Rob. He says a few months ago, Joyce asked him to do an internet search on Norwood to see if he was still alive and willing to talk after more than 70 years. Rob found Norwood’s contact information and was able to get in touch to set up a Skype call.

After their Skype reunion, Norwood and Joyce’s love story touched the hearts of people all over the world and eventually led to Air New Zealand setting up a flight for Norwood and Steve to visit Joyce in Australia.

“I am very grateful for the opportunity and I think its wonderful that it has happened,” said Norwood.

While the trip is considered a vacation, Norwood says he plans to address some serious business when he and Joyce are in the same room again. He says he wants to find out why she wouldn’t come back to the United States with him after the war.

“I think it will be good to find out,” he said. “I really don’t know how I will feel or how she will feel. We have lived in two different worlds.”

Norwood’s trip won’t all be about the past, he says he and Joyce plan to experience some new things together.

“I want to see some kangaroos close up and I want to eat some kangaroo steak.”

They also plan to spend Valentines Day together.

“I have a little a card and I have sent her a gift. When I get there I will of course buy some flowers.”

But before the new adventures, Norwood says there is one thing he is looking forward to the most – getting that long awaited squeeze at the airport.