A Canadian World War II veteran has been reunited with the Dutch girl he saved near Eindhoven almost 80 years later, Canadian media reported this week.
Roly Armitage, who is 98, found Sonja Jobes, who was just three at the time, and another boy hiding in a ditch.
“I’m elated,” Armitage said after meeting Jobes in person after so many years. “It’s unbelievable.” “I never expected this, never,” Jobes told Canadian news site CTV.
Armitage was driving a Jeep on a cold night in 1944 when he spotted movement in a ditch. “I looked and lo and behold two children,” Armitage said.
He pulled the children out of the mud and took them back to a soup kitchen where they were fed and warmed up. The boy returned home but the girl was sent to a convent, and Armitage had no idea what happened to her.
Earlier this year he told his story to Dutch media in the hopes of somehow finding her and it worked.
Jobes, now 83, lives in the US and read the article online. “I read it and I knew that was me,” she said, even though she was just three at the time. “It was like a puzzle kind of came together.”
The two have communicated by email and phone but met for the first time with friends and family last weekend.
“When I first saw Roly, well I told you I was going to give him a big hug and never going to let him go again, and then after I let him go he said ‘I thought you said you were never going to let me go,'” she told CTV News.
“Then I held him again and gave him another hug and held on for a little while… he was my hero really.”
Armitage has been in the Netherlands several times since the war for commemoration ceremonies.
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