‘She lights up my life’: Harold Terence, 100-year-old US soldier to marry on 80th anniversary of D-Day landings

Harold Terence, the 100-year-old American hero, will take advantage of the 80th anniversary celebrations of his landing in France to get married.

The love story of Harold Terence and Jeanne Schwerle is so beautiful.”More than Romeo and Juliet“: A U.S. veteran and his fiancée are getting married in France in June, in the middle of the 80th anniversary of the Allied landings in World War II.

The 100-year-old, who received the French Legion of Honor in 2019 from President Emmanuel Macron, will be glorified again on June 6 as he celebrates the 80th anniversary of the military action that led to Germany’s defeat.

Two days later, the couple would marry in Carentan-les-Marais, very close to the beaches where thousands of soldiers landed in 1944.

This is a never seen before love story“, the senior boasted with a smile, during an interview with AFP at Gene Schwerle’s home in Boca Raton, Florida.

In this sunny haven in the southeastern United States, couples gaze fondly at each other, hold each other’s hands and kiss as if on their first day.

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Harold TerrenceAn incredible person“, says his 96-year-old fiancee.”I love everything about him. He is cute and a good kisser.“.

Cheerful and quick-witted, the senior is blessed with an amazing memory. Dates, cities and events: he remembers everything without hesitation. A living history book.

Just after his 18th birthday, Japan bombed the US naval base at Pearl Harbor. Like many young Americans, he wants to join the military.

Harold Terence becomes an expert in Morse code, the coded alphabet used by the military to send texts, often encrypted. At the age of 20, he went on an American ship to England, where he was responsible for ground-to-air communications for a squadron of the famous American P-47 Thunderbolt fighters.

From England to Ukraine

We lost the war because we lost a lot of planes and pilots“, he remembers.”These pilots were friends and they killed them. They were all young“.

His company lost half of its 60 aircraft during the D-Day landings, and he later volunteered to transport German prisoners of war and free Allied troops from Normandy to England.

One day he receives an envelope which he is instructed not to open until he arrives at a certain place. He embarks on a journey to the then Soviet Ukraine via Casablanca, Cairo, Baghdad and Tehran.

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When he arrives in Ukraine, a Russian officer informs him that he is participating in a secret mission. Herald Terence was to deliver bombs, fuel and food to American planes taking off from England and attacking Nazi oil fields in Romania.

The operation lasted 24 hours until the Germans discovered the Ukrainian base and attacked it. The young American soldier escaped. Suffering from dysentery, he survives with the help of a local farming family.

Back in England, he avoids death once again when he is refused a drink at a pub that is about to close. Disillusioned, he left the company shortly after it was bombed by the Germans.

A first wife and grief

After the war, he married his first wife, Thelma. They were married for 70 years and had three children. Harold Terence works for a British company. Later, upon retirement, the couple moved to Florida.

Thelma died in 2018. He was devastated: “I am saddened by the death of my wife of three years“.

But then, in 2021, a mutual friend introduced him to a woman named Jean Schwerlin, also a widow, who he described as dazzling.

But there was no love at first sight between the two. When they first meet, Harold Terence doesn’t see her. On the second date, everything changes and they are inseparable.

I have never loved anyone like this girl“, he cheers.”She lights up my life. She makes everything beautiful and makes life live“.

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They will marry in a ceremony where the former soldier’s granddaughter sings Whitney Houston’s hit song “I’ll Always Love You.” Her great-granddaughter would scatter flower petals on the ground.

I have everything“Harold Terence rates.”I’m probably the luckiest person in the world“.

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