A 93-year-old World War II veteran is embarking on a 10,500-mile journey to Australia to visit his wartime girlfriend after more than 70 years apart.


"I'd rather die traveling to Australia than live sitting around at home wondering, 'What if?'" Thomas said.


The two first met in London shortly before D-Day. Morris was a 17-year-old British girl, whom Thomas remembers as a "pretty little thing," and he was a 21-year-old paratrooper with the 101st Airborne. "Joyce was special. The one that got away," Thomas said. "But after the war, my orders to go home came so quick there was no real chance to even say goodbye."

Thomas, who hasn't seen Morris since 1945, has kept a photo of her ever since.

After the war, the pair wrote letters to each other, and Thomas even asked Morris to come to America and be his wife. But somehow Morris misunderstood and thought he'd found someone else. She stopped writing.


Thomas and Morris, who is now 88 and nearly blind, recently reconnected via Skype. (...)

"I'm just looking forward to seeing her smile," he said. "I have no idea if there'll still be romantic feelings. But at the very least, I'll get to spend time with an old friend. Just sitting and reminiscing will be wonderful."