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War veterans reunited after 67 years
4:40pm Friday 7th September 2012 in News
A FRIENDSHIP formed on the eve of battle is all two former Second World War veterans had to remember each other by - until they met in Droitwich Spa 67 years later.
Town resident Norman Price has been reunited with wartime pal Peter Hill after the pair made contact to prove that the bonds of war can never be broken.
Peter Hill joined the Dorset Regiment’s 70th Battalion in 1941. He was followed a year later by Norman Price.
The pair soon struck up a strong friendship during their time with the 70th Battalion, which eventually became known as the Demonstration Battalion after briefly becoming the 9th.
They bonded as they prepared to play their part against the forces of Nazi Germany. As they waited to make history, a friendship was formed that would last a lifetime.
Peter said: “We used to help each other through our training and joked around a lot. We soon became great friends.” The pair also discussed what lay ahead for them on the battlefields of Europe.
However, in April 1944 the battalion disbanded and its soldiers were sent to other regiments.
The two friends had to part and Norman, known by his nickname ‘Darkie’, was transferred to the 1st Dorset Battalion, which was involved in the Normandy landings. Peter was transferred to the Coldstream Guards and subsequently transferring to Germany. The last contact between the pair was a letter sent by Norman to Peter in Germany in 1945.
After some research, Peter's daughter Rosie managed to find information relating to Norman through the Forces Reunited website. She discovered that he had settled in Droitwich not far from where Peter now lives in Birmingham.
A few phone calls later and the pair had organised to meet. The two old men, both aged 89, set eyes on each other for the first time in 67 years at Norman’s home in the town on Sunday, August 26.
The pair spent the afternoon chatting of treasured army memories, shedding tears of joy and sadness, and catching up on their lives after the war.
Peter said: “It was marvellous to see him again. We chatted just like we used to all those years ago.
“I think you form a stronger bond with people when you are facing something like we were.”
In the end, the war would be something, like the other major milestones in their lives, that they would have to face without each other. But it was something they prepared for side-by-side and it would be that which would keep them linked no matter how many years went by.
Peter added: “A lot of things have happened to us since our army days. It was good to find out what Norman had been doing for all these years and to discuss the wartime memories we shared. I was just glad to see my old friend again.”