James Longman is a foreign correspondent for ABC. He also happens to have an incredible family history. His grandparents love story is beautiful. It's a tale about long distance love through wartime, and the details seem made for Hollywood. The young lovers couldn't even speak the same language when they met. It's such an amazing tale that someone at a NZ National library decided to keep an old photo album and some letters in the archives. James had no idea until someone on Twitter showed him.
Check this out:
THREAD I’ve just had possibly the most extraordinary meeting of my life. A year ago, I posted this story about ho… https://t.co/XxBOrMl9ii— James Longman (@James Longman) 1540779255.0
About a month ago, a man in New Zealand commented on that post, with this photo of my grandparents, asking if they… https://t.co/s1JCQ4tTht— James Longman (@James Longman) 1540779339.0
He wanted to research it more, but was positive that work would keep him too busy. His job working for ABC meant he had to travel the world, sometimes at a moment's notice. Amazingly, he didn't have to wait very long before that job sent him to New Zealand. James was asked to cover Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan as they made their way through the country. He took the opportunity to visit that library and the things he found were kind of amazing.
Marc, the Twitter user who initially reached out, is the grandson of that friend/orderly we mentioned earlier. Several years ago, he was going through his grandfather's old letters, and took note of another friend mentioned repeatedly. The letters spoke so fondly of him that Marc had to know more. That young man was Major Harold Claridge, James's grandfather. It's amazing to think that these two wartime friends could bond so deeply that it would bring their grandsons together from across the world.
It did, and James ended up with a beautiful look into the past. He got to see images of his grandparents falling in love, a glimpse at parts of his mother's childhood that he had never known about, and more. His updates had people entranced.
They are incredible. The Anzac experience in northern Egypt. My grandparents courting in 1940s Cairo. My mum as a b… https://t.co/tj2egvComq— James Longman (@James Longman) 1540779688.0
This was probably the most incredible moment - and very emotional for me https://t.co/TMLyVOLPvk— James Longman (@James Longman) 1540779868.0
So, Major Harold Claridge, from the New Zealand Royal Engineers - decades after you left this place for war, your g… https://t.co/rVtNMANwiW— James Longman (@James Longman) 1540780012.0
PS - This is the photo that made me cry. My grandmother gave this photo to my grandfather as he left Cairo in 1940… https://t.co/r3fOWkqZUf— James Longman (@James Longman) 1540780146.0
The story is really making people smile.
@byEmilyAndrews I cry at TV ads. You can imagine what a state I was in over this....— James Longman (@James Longman) 1540781533.0
@JamesAALongman So beautiful❤A true love story never ends💗This royal tour is bring us much more than we expected an… https://t.co/XY3HwuLvrp— look_of_love (@look_of_love) 1540787320.0
@JamesAALongman I love this. Good for you. The family resemblance is striking and your Grandfather would be so proud.— Sally Biddulph (@Sally Biddulph) 1540808188.0
@JamesAALongman Ever think your life is like a movie? This is one cracker of a yarn..... just saying. May the memor… https://t.co/SbejE5hEy2— KP (@KP) 1540816440.0
@JamesAALongman 👁️👁️This is ALL so very touching..😭😭So do you get to take it home? How did they even acquire it? I… https://t.co/pbPe1vK4tH— DontBlockYourBlessng (@DontBlockYourBlessng) 1540823622.0
@JamesAALongman James, so happy for you that you were able to retrieve such wonderful memories 🙏🏼😊— Albert Tovar (@Albert Tovar) 1540796725.0
@JamesAALongman WOW! You look just like him. Amazing story, made me smile, made me cry; having a sad morning becaus… https://t.co/EKuBqeUOrG— Silvia (@Silvia) 1540822081.0
@JamesAALongman To find and see this history of ones family is like finding the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow… https://t.co/UsO9G2b0qx— Kathy Reineking🌊🌊🌊 (@Kathy Reineking🌊🌊🌊) 1540821826.0
We all need a story like this once in a while!