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He rescued her when she was 3 in 1944, now, the two meet in Ottawa for the first time since then


In a moment that was almost 80 years in the making, a 98-year-old Ottawa veteran reunited this weekend with the girl he rescued when she was just three years old in Holland during the Second World War.

"I'm elated," said Dr. Roly Armitage of meeting Sonja Jobes in person after so many years. "It's unbelievable."

"I never expected this, never," said Jobes.

The pair, along with family and friends, gathered in the city's west end on Sunday afternoon to celebrate.

Armitage was behind the wheel of a Jeep on a cold night in 1944 when something caught his eye in a nearby ditch.

"I thought I saw movement and I looked and lo and behold two children," Armitage recounted.

He pulled both of them out of the ditch and brought them to a field kitchen to give them something to eat and get them warmed up. The little boy went home, he said, but the little girl was sent to a nunnery and he had no idea what happened to her after he was forced to move on with the troops.

Earlier this year he told his story to Dutch media in the hopes of somehow figuring out who the little girl was and it worked.

Jobes, now 83, lives in Minnesota and came across the article online.

"I read it and I knew that was me," she said. "It was like a puzzle kind of came together."

The two spoke over the phone and by e-mail but only met in person for the first time this weekend.

"When I first saw Roly, well I told you I was going to give him a big hug and never going to let him go again, and then after I let him go he said 'I thought you said you were never going to let me go,'" she said laughing. "Then I held him again and gave him another hug and held on for a little while… he was my hero really."

"I’ve told her 1,000 times I love her and how much I admire her," Armitage said.

Both Armitage and Jobes say they plan to stay in touch now that they've reconnected. Top Stories

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