The first time Roy Vickerman met Nora Jackson was at their school when the schoolteacher introduced Roy to the class. As all the students turned to see the new student, Roy’s eyes met with Nora’s, and from that moment, the cliché “love at first sight” became an actual reality for the two. That was in the early 1940s, and Roy and Nora soon afterward got engaged.
However, World War Two wrecked the couple’s plans of tying the knot as Roy was called to serve in the army as an intelligence officer. Even though Roy was only 18 then, he found himself in the D-day landings. Despite sustaining a gunshot wound from a sniper, he was among the lucky ones to survive D-day. Still, he again found himself at the battle of the Bulge, where he and the allied troops battled the Nazis for six weeks despite incurring over 100,000 casualties.
Roy survived World War II, and the lovers resumed their relationship when he returned home to Nora. Sadly, Roy was among the many World War II veterans who had PTSD. As a result, the relationship broke down, and Roy called off the engagement.
According to the US department of veterans affairs, the people living with PTSD mostly have difficulty with close family relationships that may also extend to friends. PTSD creates trust issues, making it difficult for the sufferer to open up and talk through their problems.
While it must have been difficult for Nora to lose Ray just when she got him back from the war, they both moved on and eventually had their own families. However, in 2015, 70 years after their breakup, Roy, whose heart still beat for Nora, decided to call the BBC’s midland radio show the “Late Night Love” hosted by Graham Torrington. Roy wanted to tell his wartime romance story of Nora, but when the producers found Nora now widowed, alive and well, they passed her address to Roy.
As seventy years is such a long time, Roy wanted to meet his old sweetheart, but then questions flooded his mind. Was she married, was her husband still around, and how did she feel about seeing him again? There was only one thing to do, and that was to see her. He then bought flowers hoping she would accept his apology for ending things.
Nevertheless, unbeknown to Roy, he too had a special place in Nora’s heart. Roy took a taxi to Nora’s house, where she hugged and kissed him as soon as she opened the door. It must have been a long-awaited reunion as Nora wouldn’t let Roy go. Four hours into their reunion, Roy had to cancel the taxi since Nora gave him no choice but to stay.
Nora reflecting on the day she reunited with Roy, said,
“I knew him straight away, but I never thought I would see him again. It was a shock to see him, because it had been such a long time, but it was lovely. It was just like old times.”
Roy Vickerman’s day to remember
A year after reuniting with Nora and on his 90th birthday, Roy again proposed to 89-year-old Nora,72 years after their breakup. He was finally going to marry the girl who captured his heart when he first laid eyes on her in 1940 and to whom he got engaged in 1944, merely a week before he was sent off to fight in Normandy.
The years and the war have robbed them of the future they were meant to have. Even though Roy couldn’t get down on one knee as he had done when he had first proposed to Nora some 70 years ago, he still put on Nora’s finger the same ring she had returned to him when their relationship ended.
Sadly, Roy and Nora never got to fulfill their dream of getting married as the pandemic lockdown has robbed them of the opportunity. On May 19, 2021, at the age of 95, Roy died in his sleep. Though they never got to wed, Roy and Nora were engaged but were forced to live apart by the pandemic.
Up until the end, Roy loved Nora. The brave man that stormed the beaches of Normandy and fought in the battle of the bulge won his last fight as he braved to fight for the woman he loved. In the end, Roy won the battle as his sweetheart was again in his life.
Roy’s son best described his father’s happiness when he said,
“They talked on the phone and face-to-face through FaceTime. After he got back together with Nora, he was happier than I had seen him in years. He had a glow in his face.”
Roy was laid to rest on June 9, 2021. His sending-off was attended by veterans, friends, and family. Once again, Nora had to see him go, but this time, there were no regrets but only tender love and warm memories.