Love story stretched across the skies from King’s Lynn to Texas
A love story which began against the backdrop of a world war and endured a 50-year separation is still going strong on the other side of the Atlantic.
American serviceman Jim Turner, now 90, was serving at North Pickenham in 1944 when he first met Majken Bostman, known as Micky, now 82, who lived in King's Lynn.
But when the war ended Lt Turner returned to the USA and the couple did not see each other again for half a century.
But they never forgot the friendship that blossomed in Norfolk amid the uncertainty of war and were reunited, married in 1995 and now live in Texas. Norfolk was awash with American bases during the second world war and thousands of young men were sent here to add their weight to the battle raging across Europe.
Lt Turner was a bombardier in the Army Air Corps 491st Bomb Group and was flying missions over Europe from his base near Swaffham on a regular basis.
'I began to realise just what the bombs I dropped might be doing... In silence I prayed each time after releasing my bomb load that it would only destroy the factories making war machines and components,' he said.
He met Micky through the American Red Cross at a dance.
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'Jim was a good-looking man then – and still is,' said Mrs Turner from her home in Abilene.
The couple struck-up an immediate friendship and Mr Turner told her all about the sweetheart he had left in America and would marry on his return.
He left Norfolk in 1945 and went on to have a family and carve a career in the oil industry.
But he never forgot Micky, who he told his wife all about, and in 1950 he wrote to her to see how she was. But he forgot to put on a return address, so she couldn't reply.
He had sent pictures of his wife and children and said that even though he still loved her, he had a good life and he hoped she had found happiness as well.
He had ended the letter: 'I will always love you, even when I am old and grey.'
Little did he realise what the future would hold for both of them and that their old age would be spent together in Texas where they are both looking forward to their November 11 wedding anniversary – the date was chosen specifically because it is Armistice day here and Veterans' Day in the USA.
The couple were reunited after Mr Turner was widowed and decided to look for his English love. He sent a letter to the only King's Lynn address he had for her, where someone else forwarded the letter and she replied.
'You can't know the joy of that moment when I saw that letter, or the joys that have followed,' he said.
Mrs Turner, who had also married and had a family during the intervening years, left 66 years of life in west Norfolk behind her and flew to Texas to marry the man who first caught her eye wearing a flying suit.
'I had been to the USA three times in between to see a friend, but never went to Texas or saw Jim. Then I got the letter from him and that was that really,' she said.
After a lifetime in and around Lynn she took the huge decision to be reunited with Jim and move to his home state. Mrs Turner said she had never regretted her move, but was still not entirely delighted with the weather in Texas.
'It can be really hot and dusty and we get wildfires which can be quite frightening – they're so quick to spread,' she said.
'Jim has been really good for her – they still hold hands even now and are so happy,' said one of her sons, Robert Walker, 61, who works at Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
'It is an amazing story. Jim still wears a war-time-style flying hat and people in America have the utmost respect for their veterans. They shake his hand and thank him for all he did – it's amazing,' he added.
Mrs Turner had four sons; Richard, who died at the age of 55 and was an atomic engineer; Robert; Gary, 60, a major in the army who is an MBE and still lives in west Norfolk; and Stephen, 59, a plasterer who lives in Yorkshire. She also has four grandsons and four great-grandchildren. Jim has a daughter, Becky, and two grandchildren. He also had a son, Kenny, who died some years ago.