US war veteran reunites with French lover after 75 years of separation

KT Robbins and Jeannine Pierson were reunited after 75 years.
KT Robbins and Jeannine Pierson were reunited after 75 years. Photo credit: France 2.

French journalists have reunited a war veteran and a French woman who fell in love 75 years ago in the midst of World War II.

KT Robbins, now aged 97, and Jeannine Ganaye, now aged 92, first met in their early twenties, when Robbins was an US Army soldier stationed in the northeastern French town of Briey in 1944, The BBC reports.

Robbins met Ganaye, who is now Jeannine Pierson, when he was looking for someone to wash his clothes, and Ganaye's mother offered to help.

The pair fell in love, but two months after their meeting, Robbins was told he had to leave Briey and head to the Eastern Front for battle.

"I told her maybe I'll come back and take you, but it did not happen like that," Robbins told French television channel France 2.

Pierson began learning English, in the hope that Robbins would one day return to Briey.

"I wish, after the war, he hadn't returned to America," Pierson told France 2.

But Robbins soon returned to his home country, where he met his wife of 70 years, Lillian. She passed away in 2015 at the age of 92.

Pierson also found love and became a mother to five children.

However, the pair never forgot each other, and the opportunity for a reunion arose when Robbins was approached by a group of France 2 journalists looking to interview World World II veterans.

Robbins reportedly showed the journalist's Pierson's photo, saying he wanted to return to her village while he was in France for D-Day celebrations.

Robbins told the journalists he wanted to find her family, as he assumed Pierson had passed away.

"For sure I won't get to see her," he told France 2.

The photo of Jeannine Ganaye that KT Robbins kept for 75 years.
The photo of Jeannine Ganaye that KT Robbins kept for 75 years. Photo credit: France 2.

The journalists tracked Pierson down to a retirement home, only 43 kilometres from where the pair first met.

The France 2 journalists attended the couple's reunion, where they reported the couple sat close to each other as if they had never been separated.

"I always loved you. You never got out of my heart," Robbins reportedly told Pierson in English.

"He said he loves me. I understood that much," Pierson told the France 2 journalists in French.

Pierson was reportedly shocked to see Robbins had kept the photo of her after 75 years, and asked him why he hadn't come back to see her sooner.

"You know, when you get married, after that you can't do it anymore," Robbins told Pierson.

Robbins and Pierson were able to spend a few hours together before Robbins had to leave to the D-Day celebrations in Normandy.

The former lovers, who are now both widowed, have promised to meet again.