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TITLE
Canadian War Brides (5 of 14)
EXTERNAL ID
AB_CANADIAN_WAR_BRIDES_05
DATE OF RECORDING
2009
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Melynda Jarratt
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
1104
KEYWORDS
Second World War
World War II
2nd World War
audios

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In July 2009, Melynda Jarratt, the leading expert on Canadian War Brides, gave a talk on her subject at Dingwall Library. She was accompanied by Zoe Boone, a Canadian War Bride from Aberdeen. In this audio extract Melynda talks about some of the problems faced by the new brides after their arrival in Canada.

'The war brides were a very popular commodity in 1946. After six long years of war - '39 to '45 - they were the first good news in a long time so the Canadian government spent a lot of money and time trying to make sure that they had a very good journey to Canada, and also promoted them in the press like crazy. So, almost every day in the newspaper there would be front-page headlines, screaming headlines saying, you know, 'War Brides Ship Arrives with 1200' and a beautiful, cute, little baby in the mummy's arms, and all these cute, women, good-looking women, and cherub-faced babies. And it was good news, you know, and they'd arrive in their communities and they would just spread out.

So, they would get off the ship in Halifax, at pier 21, and they would board what they called 'War Bride Specials' - these were ships [trains?] that were specially equipped to transport Canadian War Brides across the country. And, you know, we have a huge country - 4,000 miles wide - so, if you were going to New Brunswick, well then you had a relatively short trip by Canadian standards. It could be from six to, you know, eight hours, and that's, that's a short trip for us. But, if you're going to Vancouver, you're talking five, six, seven days, depending if there's a layover in Montreal or Toronto, or if everything moves smoothly, and you don't have a huge storm, in the Prairies. And so, or the Rocky Mountains aren't blocked by a snowslide, or a mudslide, or a landslide. So, you can imagine these ladies were going on a huge trip.

And I can still remember one war bride telling me she'd just get her baby to sleep, she'd just get the little baby to sleep, and of course these trains stopped at every whistlestop along the way, every little town, because all - that's how Canadians got around then, by train. Every time they stopped, though, guess what would happen? Whoooo, whooo, whooo, whooo! And then the baby would start like 'Waah, waah! The baby would start screaming and she'd just get the baby back to sleep again and then it would start all over again. So this went on for all across Canada. And you can just imagine at the end of it she'd be just 'Aaagh!'. Eyes, you know, the hair, pulling the hair out of the head and of course they'd be no showers, and you'd just spent two weeks on a boat, and, you know - And I know one lady thought that when she arrived in Halifax that she was going to be meeting her husband the next afternoon so she put an egg - at the time egg, there was an egg 'do' that you could put in your hair to make it stiff and she had still six more days to go! And the hair was standing right up and she was overdressed and they got stuck on a siding in Toronto and for twelve hours, and they all thought that they were getting off the next minute so they all stood up with their suitcases and then they slowly started to wilt. And it just got hotter and hotter. But, you know, they still had a very long way to go.'

Melynda Jarratt lives in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. She has been researching Canadian War Brides since 1987 when she began working on her thesis at the University of New Brunswick. She has published various books on the subject including 'War Brides (2007) and 'Captured Hearts' (2008).

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Canadian War Brides (5 of 14)

2000s

Second World War; World War II; 2nd World War; audios

Am Baile

Am Baile: Canadian War Brides

In July 2009, Melynda Jarratt, the leading expert on Canadian War Brides, gave a talk on her subject at Dingwall Library. She was accompanied by Zoe Boone, a Canadian War Bride from Aberdeen. In this audio extract Melynda talks about some of the problems faced by the new brides after their arrival in Canada.<br /> <br /> 'The war brides were a very popular commodity in 1946. After six long years of war - '39 to '45 - they were the first good news in a long time so the Canadian government spent a lot of money and time trying to make sure that they had a very good journey to Canada, and also promoted them in the press like crazy. So, almost every day in the newspaper there would be front-page headlines, screaming headlines saying, you know, 'War Brides Ship Arrives with 1200' and a beautiful, cute, little baby in the mummy's arms, and all these cute, women, good-looking women, and cherub-faced babies. And it was good news, you know, and they'd arrive in their communities and they would just spread out. <br /> <br /> So, they would get off the ship in Halifax, at pier 21, and they would board what they called 'War Bride Specials' - these were ships [trains?] that were specially equipped to transport Canadian War Brides across the country. And, you know, we have a huge country - 4,000 miles wide - so, if you were going to New Brunswick, well then you had a relatively short trip by Canadian standards. It could be from six to, you know, eight hours, and that's, that's a short trip for us. But, if you're going to Vancouver, you're talking five, six, seven days, depending if there's a layover in Montreal or Toronto, or if everything moves smoothly, and you don't have a huge storm, in the Prairies. And so, or the Rocky Mountains aren't blocked by a snowslide, or a mudslide, or a landslide. So, you can imagine these ladies were going on a huge trip. <br /> <br /> And I can still remember one war bride telling me she'd just get her baby to sleep, she'd just get the little baby to sleep, and of course these trains stopped at every whistlestop along the way, every little town, because all - that's how Canadians got around then, by train. Every time they stopped, though, guess what would happen? Whoooo, whooo, whooo, whooo! And then the baby would start like 'Waah, waah! The baby would start screaming and she'd just get the baby back to sleep again and then it would start all over again. So this went on for all across Canada. And you can just imagine at the end of it she'd be just 'Aaagh!'. Eyes, you know, the hair, pulling the hair out of the head and of course they'd be no showers, and you'd just spent two weeks on a boat, and, you know - And I know one lady thought that when she arrived in Halifax that she was going to be meeting her husband the next afternoon so she put an egg - at the time egg, there was an egg 'do' that you could put in your hair to make it stiff and she had still six more days to go! And the hair was standing right up and she was overdressed and they got stuck on a siding in Toronto and for twelve hours, and they all thought that they were getting off the next minute so they all stood up with their suitcases and then they slowly started to wilt. And it just got hotter and hotter. But, you know, they still had a very long way to go.'<br /> <br /> Melynda Jarratt lives in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. She has been researching Canadian War Brides since 1987 when she began working on her thesis at the University of New Brunswick. She has published various books on the subject including 'War Brides (2007) and 'Captured Hearts' (2008).<br /> <br /> Find out more about the <A HREF=" http://www.canadianwarbrides.com/"target="_blank">Canadian War Brides</A>