“ECSTATIC” was the only way Reg Dudley could describe his feelings after his tearful reunion with the friend he hadn’t seen for almost 60 years.
Reg (77) and Don Batchelor (77) last saw each other in 1954, after they served together as wire operators during their National Service in Germany.
“Reg has spent his life saying ‘I wonder, I wonder, I wonder’ about Don,” said his wife Vera, who married Reg when he returned to Newbold following his time in the army. “They meant to exchange phone numbers when they were demobbed, but they were moved so fast that they never got chance.”
After their service, Reg returned to Derbyshire, and Don moved back to his home in Devon, and they never heard from one another again.
But last week, on a visit to Sheffield, Don decided to look up his long-lost comrade in the phone book, and found just one R. Dudley in the area.
“I couldn’t believe it was so easy,” said Don. “I have been thinking about it for a long long time, there is no question I should have done it earlier.”
Reg and Vera threw a small party for Don and his wife Geraldine. After an emotional embrace, the pair set about filling in the blanks created by 57 years apart.
“I felt ecstatic,” said Reg. “It was just unbelievable because I didn’t think I would ever see him again. We found out we had both been ill with cancer and we could have very nearly not had this meeting.”
The pair parted ways but exchanged phone numbers and have vowed to stay in touch.
Don said: “We got on like a house on fire and so did Geraldine and Vera.
“Reg and Vera hope to come and visit us in the summer and if that meeting is anything like the last one it will be tremendous.”
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