Glace Bay woman looking for descendants of soldier who gave her a pin in Second World War
A Glace Bay woman was just a little girl when a Second World War soldier gave her a gold pin with her name on it and asked her one thing: to remember him.
The pin that bears her first name is 75 years old. Audrey Greenhalgh got it when she was just eight and living across the street from the military barracks in Glace Bay during the Second World War.
Audrey recalls how she and her brother would visit the soldiers, one of whom was a bit of a mystery.
“Another soldier that I spied on, because I wondered about him,” said Greenhalgh.“He was moody, dark, good-looking guy. I asked the doctor about him, and he said ‘well, his name is Johnny, and he's from somewhere out west, and he just wants to be alone, some people are like that.’”
So, she never really approached him.
Eventually, the day came when the soldiers were ready to ship out.
After paying one last visit, little Audrey was about to head home when “Johnny” surprised her by calling out her name
“He came up to me, and he bent down and he pinned this pin – ‘Audrey” – onto my little torn dress. Took both my little hands in his, and said: ‘kid, remember me,’” Greenhalgh said.
She told him she would and it's a promise she has kept ever since by donning the pin each year on Nov. 11.
“To this day, I still wear the pin, and I think about Johnny,” Greenhalgh said.
Over the years, she has written about Johnny in poems and short stories, all the while wondering what ever became of him.
“I've thought about him,” she said. “I wondered if he came back. I wondered why a young man would feel so saddened that he would put his trust in a little girl to remember him. Did he not have someone else to remember him?”
Audrey has told the story of Johnny the mysterious soldier many times before.
But in this day and age of social media, she hopes to connect with descendants of the man who, all these years ago, gave her the pin she cherishes to this day.
“It would be quite remarkable if he did return and perhaps told a daughter, or a granddaughter or grandson, ‘I gave a little girl a pin at one time when I was stationed in Glace Bay.’”
And if she ever does reunite the pin with Johnny's relatives one day, she says it would mean that it was “a promise well-kept.”
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ryan MacDonald.