A 98-year-old D-Day veteran has recreated a photo taken with a Belgian boy whose family took him in 76 years ago.
George ‘Bunny’ Avery was a sapper in the Royal Engineers and part of the second wave of troops to land on Normandy’s Sword Beach beaches on D-Day, 6 June 1944.
On that fateful day, he was dropped close to the shoreline by his landing craft, and as he made his way to the beach he said he “just kept running.” In his mind, he was telling himself, “Keep your head down boy!”
George advanced through Nazi-occupied Europe, building portable bridges which allowed troops and vehicles to travel at speed across rivers and canals.
During his wartime journey across the continent, George stayed at a bakery in the Belgian town of Peer with a family who gave him board and lodgings.
It was 1944 and George and some other soldiers were building bridges nearby.
While staying with the town bakers, George made good friends with the 6-year-old boy of the household.
That boy’s name was Urbain, and when the family had their photo taken to remember their time with George, he and Urban were were pictured hugging.
George’s daughter Kathryn recently discovered photos of the bakery, with a Belgian address written on the back. She began doing some research. Before long she’d managed to contact Urbain. He said yes to meeting-up in his childhood town with Kathryn and her dad.
Kathryn and her father often return to France, Holland, and Belgium to take part in liberation commemorations, but this meeting was particularly special.
When they met, Urban was holding a photo showing him being carried by George, who was just 23 at the time.
George now lives with dementia and can’t remember his meetings with Urbain, but his Belgian pal still remembers those special times with his soldier friend, and spoke to Kathryn of his joy at playing with George as a child.
75 years after they first met, George and his Belgian had their photo taken in the very same spot where they were first photographed.
We’re sure Kathryn will treasure such a special moment being captured forever.