Marie-Henrietta Steffen who has been re-united with Arthur Jones after 62 years

As Allied troops stormed across the French countryside in the final push of the Second World War, things weren't quite going to plan for one pair of British soldiers.

After landing on Gold Beach, Arthur Jones and Ian Cohen were in the thick of the fighting as the British forces pushed the Wermacht out of France.

But as the fighting moved east, the 18-year-olds from the 147th Field Regiment Royal Artillery were left stranded after their Sherman tank broke down between Lille in France and Arras in Belgium.

Ordered to sit tight, the pals prepared themselves for a long and dangerous wait - until the Steffen family came to the rescue.

The Steffens, a mother and her seven children, were refugees from Belgium and despite the huge risks to themselves, took the two teenagers in until they were rescued five weeks later.

Now, following a chance meeting with a French teacher more than six decades later, Arthur, from Pendeford near Wolverhampton, has been reunited with one of the Steffen daughters, Marie-Henrietta, who was 22 when they took the soldiers in.

Although Arthur returned to Britain after the war to marry his childhood sweetheart Dorothy, who died three years ago, he was delighted at seeing his war-time saviour.

He said: "I couldn't believe it when I saw her. It might have been 62 years ago when I said goodbye, but it all felt like yesterday.

"I'm so happy, I feel like I'm walking on air right now and I don't want this feeling to stop. I'd given up hope of ever seeing her again.

"They were very brave because if the tide of war had turned and the Germans had counter-attacked they would have been killed," said the 80-year old veteran.

"I remember it as a wonderful time. They shared everything they had with Ian and I and we were so grateful for their help. The one who really stood out was Marie-Henrietta. She was so, so kind and beautiful and we really enjoyed each other's company. I spent a lot of time with her and I took a real shine to her. We used to talk and play cards - it was all very innocent."

The pair were reunited earlier this year at an emotional reunion at the Town Hall in Lille after she was traced by a French teacher who Arthur (pictured during his time in the Army) had told about his war experiences.

Marie-Henrietta, now 84, said: "After all this time, Arthur has not changed much at all. He's much older, of course, but he's the same person - a very nice gentleman."

In 1947 Arthur left the Army and found a job as a mechanic and married Dorothy two years later. In 2003, she died from a stroke aged 77 and Arthur looked to find the Steffen family. Describing their recent reunion in Marie-Henrietta's home town, Arthur said: "She's still pretty, bright as a button and, like me, very active in her old age. And as soon as I saw her again there was an instant chemistry between us.

"She never married and sometimes I wonder if she was waiting for me to find her. We talk over the phone all the time and in a recent letter she told me 'I already feel as though we are married'.

"I do say I love her but that's because I love what her family did for me. I don't think either of us would like to move from our homes but I think we'd like to spend more time together."

Since the reunion the pair have made plans to meet again in southern France this summer where Marie-Henrietta's surviving brothers Gislain, Paul and Henry live.

Arthur said: "I never imagined I would see them again. I'm so thankful for what they did and to be finally able to tell them."