Journalist James Longman came upon the discovery of his own grandfather’s photo album that was apparently found in the National Library of New Zealand. He was covering Harry and Meghan’s visit to the country at the time when he came across this news. It wasn’t long before this that Longman actually shared a personal post about his grandparents and how they met.
According to the post, Harold Claridge was posted to Egypt during World War II, where he met Gabriella Sawaya. She was from a Lebanese family living in Egypt at the time. He spoke English, she spoke none. But they tried their best to communicate, even through letters, when he was called to Alamein. They ended up marrying, having Longman’s mother, and fleeing to the UK after the war settled. The rest is truly history.
I’ve just had possibly the most extraordinary meeting of my life. A year ago, I posted this story about how my grandparents met – a New Zealand officer who married a Lebanese woman in Egypt at the end of WW2 pic.twitter.com/oiLHAB3lHf
— James Longman (@JamesAALongman) October 29, 2018
Now, here’s where the story gets interesting. Someone commented on that exact post, asking Longman if those were his blood-related grandparents. The man, named Mark Cousins, then went onto tell Longman that his grandfather’s personal photo collection was located at the National Library of New Zealand.
Longman had a chance to meet up with Cousins, whose grandfather’s name was Clarence, and was apparently the orderly of Longman’s grandfather. Clarence died in the war but spoke very highly of Longman’s grandfather apparently. All of these happy coincidences sparked an investigation from Cousins.
It had been nearly 80 years since Clarence died and nearly 16 years since Longman’s grandfather died. Well, apparently Cousins was in touch with Longman’s grandfather well before the grandsons even met! The two apparently exchanged letters, one dating back fairly recently to 1994.
Then, the uncovering of the photos began.
Read on to the NEXT page to see all of the photos uncovered at the National Library of New Zealand…