Gravely wounded during the Third Battle of Ypres in 1917, Captain Harry Oldham from the West Yorkshire Regiment was condemned to death by an Irish nurse who mistook him for German spy.
Yet, in an unexpected turn of events, the pair married two years later, and went on to have three children.
This is the story uncovered in the University of Leeds archives by five undergraduates researching the things that soldiers at the front missed about home.
The students unearthed accounts written by Oldham in 1969, more than half a century after meeting his future wife.
The ex-Leeds Grammar School boy, who served on the Western Front as a company commander in the 9th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment, described how in 1917 he used his ability to speak German to save the life of a wounded enemy soldier.
Just months later, gravely wounded during the Third Battle of Ypres, Oldham found himself on an operating table in a York military hospital, muttering in German.
Oldham describes how “a young Irish nurse, a VAD [Voluntary Aid Detachment, a volunteer nurse], announced that Harry was a German spy and should not be allowed to live. – advice which was fortunately ignored by Harry’s excellent surgeon.”
Having survived the war, Oldham married Heather Orloff in 1919, and the couple went on to have three children.
They later emigrated to Vancouver, where Oldham managed the British Trade Centre and was awarded a CBE.
He died in 1973, followed by his wife five years later.