Veteran Reg Pye finds the French girl he has been looking for since WWII

Reg Pye, 99 from Burry Port, served with the 224 Field Company, Royal Engineers as a driver carrying sappers, mines and ammunitions. He landed on Sword beach on D Day plus 14 and one night as he moved through Normandy his convoy was held up in Virgny in 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 and he 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 and his mess tin half full of milk. A beautiful gift to thank him for sharing his dinner with her.

During the annual Taxi Charity trip to Normandy in June 2022 volunteer taxi driver Paul Cook heard the incredible 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 and the Taxi Charity’s French advisor, 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. As well as the bread and jam, Reg also brought a can of pilchards but just as she did in 1944, Huguette rejected them again with a smile. He then showed her the faded picture that he had kept in his wallet for 78 years and there was not a dry eye in the room.

Surrounded by her extended family, Reg and Huguette shared champagne, as friends translated a conversation in which Huguette said she was “extremely touched” that Reg tried to find her and said,
“Nice to see you again after such a long time. We got older but we’re still the same.”

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 unfortunately, I wasn’t successful I cannot believe that she has finally been found and I wish to thank everyone, including our friend Emma, our cab driver Paul and the Taxi Charity’s French Advisor Nathalie Varnière, who have helped to make my dream come true.”

Paul Cook, London taxi driver and volunteer for the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans said, “There are no words to describe how elated I am that Reg has found Huguette, this is like a Hollywood blockbuster and I wouldn’t be surprised if this beautiful story was made into a film.”

To view a video of Reg and Huguette’s reunion www.taxicharity.org/post/veteran-reg-pye-finds-the-french-girl-he-has-been-looking-for-since-wwii

To find out more about the support the Taxi Charity offers to veterans or to donate visit www.taxicharity.org

About the Taxi Charity
The Taxi Charity is run by volunteer London black taxi drivers and has been supporting thousands of veterans of all ages since 1948. The charity arranges free trips to the Netherlands, Belgium, and France, for acts of commemoration and days out to museums, concerts, or fundraising events across the UK, to catch up with friends and comrades.
The charity was awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in June 2021.
In 2023 the charity will be celebrating its 75th anniversary.
To fund and facilitate their work, the charity is reliant on donations, grants and sponsorship.
www.taxicharity.org

For more information, to arrange interviews or to request images please contact
Christina Bowden
Bowden PR
07984 433614
christina@bowdenpr.co.uk
www.bowdenpr.co.uk

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