Bunny and Urbain. Credit Royal Star & Garter

Veterans

D-Day Veteran Reunited With Belgian Family He Lived With During WW2

Reunited by a chance finding of a photograph

Bunny and Urbain. Credit Royal Star & Garter

A D-Day veteran has been reunited with the Belgian family he lived with during the Second World War.

George Avery, known affectionately as Bunny, was a Sapper in the Royal Engineers during WW2, he was part of the second wave of troops to land on the beaches on June 6, 1944.

While building bridges to help the Allies advance into Nazi-occupied territory, Bunny lived at a bakery, where he met six-year-old Urbain. 75 years later, in 2019, the two friends were reunited after Bunny’s daughter, Kathryn, discovered a photo of Urbain’s family.

Kathryn spoke to BFBS Radio broadcasters Verity Geere and Richard Hatch about finding the photo in a metal tin. She said:

“I came across a whole raft of things, lots I'd seen before and lots I hadn’t.

"In there was lots of photos, lots of memorabilia. I just happened to find a photo that had a name on the back and an address.”

Bunny and Urbain (on the left) in 1944. Credit Royal Star & Garter

Kathryn has friends in Belgium that were able to help her track down Urbain, through the power of modern technology. It transpired that her friend was already Facebook friends with Urbain.

Bunny now lives with dementia at a Royal Star and Garter care home, but he was able to travel to Belgium to meet Urbain almost 75 years to the day that the photo (above) was taken.

The long lost friends had an emotional reunion outside the bakery in Peer, Belgium where Bunny had lived in 1944, Kathryn said:

"It was incredible, Urbain and his wife and son were there waiting for us, we got out the car and there was just tears."

Now, sadly, Bunny cannot remember meeting Urbain all those years ago, but Urbain still has fond memories of the fun they had together when he was a child. 

Bunny served in the British Army for five years and in 2016 received the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest military honour, for the role he played in the liberation of France.