Fonds 259 War Brides Collection

fonds-259

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9 cm of textual records. — 69 photographs. — 11 sound recordings.


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Agency History

Between 1942 and 1948, nearly 45,000 War Brides acompanied by 21,000 children came to Canada from Britain and Europe to join their husbands. Entire departments of government were devoted to bringing the war brides home. The Canadian Wives Bureau of the Civilian Repatriation Section in England processed their papers, told them what to expect in Canada, and provided them with train passes. The “Aquitania” was one of the elegant ocean liners assigned to the war bride detail. The Red Cross and the Salvation Army provided escort service on board, taking care of minor medical problems, organizing feedings and daycare for children, and delivering tea and crackers to seasick war brides. After going through immigration in Halifax, the women boarded trains for the journey westward. Those travelling to the Peace country had many stops and miles ahead of them. New families and new communities and unfamiliar living conditions awaited them.

Custodial History

The records were deposited in South Peace Regional Archives as a result of the War Brides project in 2007.

Scope and Content

The fonds consists of autobiographical stories from 18 World War II brides who came to the Peace Country after meeting their Canadian husbands in Britain and Europe during the War. 11 audio taped interviews are also included.

Notes

 

Table of Contents

Series 259.01Grace Thomson
Series 259.02Vi Dryer
Series 259.03Margaret Weaver
Series 259.04Wilhelmina Johnston
Series 259.05Aleyda Campbell
Series 259.06Margaret Krzyczkowski
Series 259.07Gretha Gerow
Series 259.08Jean Conrad Drysdale
Series 259.09Margaret LeCerf
Series 259.10Marjorie Pettit
Series 259.11Audrey Cook
Series 259.12Betty Eskdale
Series 259.13Grace Nellis
Series 259.14Hilary Lightfoot
Series 259.15Daphne Derocher
Series 259.16Mary Tangen
Series 259.17Cathy Golding
Series 259.18Sheila Peterson

 

Series 259.01Grace Thomson. — 1913-2004. — .5 cm of textual records. — 28 photographs.Grace Pamela Miller’s early life was spent in St. Mary’s Waif and Stray Home, an orphanage run by the Church of England. She never saw her mother but knew she had TB and was confined to hospital. At fourteen, she left school and worked at cleaning jobs in the Home and at sixteen she went into domestic service. She had been so used to bells, she didn’t know how to tell time so had to teach herself. She was given a maid’s uniform, the cost of which came out of her pay along with the cost of any breakage. She joined the Girls Friendly Society which allowed her to spend holidays at the seaside. She later worked in the Cane Hill Hospital on the domestic staff and that is where she met her Englsh soldier, Joe. Joe had been to Canada with his father in 1919 and had come back with the Canadian army during WW11. She and Joe married in 1941 and their daughter, Sheila, was born in 1942. Since Joe was still in service, Grace stayed with the Swindon family until the war ended. Joe went back to Canada and Grace went to London to get their papers in order so she and Sheila, now 4, could come to Canada. They sailed on th Queen Mary on June 5,1946, and arrived in St. Walberg, Saskatchewan where she was greeted by Joe and others. A ladies group from the United Church gave her two cups and saucers and a mirror. She was overwhelmed by the kindness of her new neighbors. Her new life was all too much to take in at first, kind of like a dream world. The first fall, she canned everything she could think of as she thought there would be no fresh food available in the winter. When winter came, she found even at -60′ the stores still had plenty of food. She made many good friends, ones she still writes to. Joe worked for a dray company delivering coal and other goods. Three years later they moved to Saskatoon where Grace was active in the Anglican Church (the women’s group, Sunday school teacher, and Brownie leader.) In 1971, after Joe died, Grace moved to Grande Prairie to be near her daughter who was expecting her first baby. Here she made new friends easily by becoming involved for twenty years in choir and theatre groups.The series consists of a handwritten copy of memories from her early days as Grace Miller, in the orphanage, as a working teenager and then her marriage to Joe Thomson and her coming to Canada as a war bride; 28 photos describing Grace Miller’s early days in the orphanage to her teenage working days and then her marriage to Joe Thomson, the birth of her daughter, and her coming to Canada as a war bride; photos describing her married life after coming to Canada as a war bride and living in several towns in Saskatchewan; photos describing Grace’s life after the death of her husband when she moved to Grande Prairie where she was closer to her daughter and grandchildren. 10 pages of copies of news articles and memorabilia from war brides’ conventions.
 
St. Mary’s Orphanage, 1913-1929
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
The orphanage in Hampstead Heath, England, where Grace Miller spent her early childhood
Location: 0259.01.01
Grace as a Child, 1918
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Grace Miller spent her early childhood in St.Mary’s Orphanage at Hampstead Heath.
Location: 0259.01.02
Grace as a Teenager, 1927 c.
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Grace Miller spent her teenage years working out as a domestic servant in different homes. At fourteen, girls were allowed to leave school and work cleaning in the Home; then at sixteen they could work out for other people.
Location: 0259.01.03
Grace with her Aunt Eliya, 1935 c.
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Grace worked in one home where her Aunt had also worked as a domestic and on her day off, she remembers helping her aunt clean silver.
Location: 0259.01.04
Grace’s War Service, 1940 c.
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Grace worked on the domestic staff at Crane Hill Hospital during the war.
Location: 0259.01.05
Grace Marries Joe Thomson, 1941.
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Grace met her future husband at a dance that the hospital staff put on where they invited Canadian soldiers. Joe was also English and had come to Canada with his father and sister in 1919.
Location: 0259.01.06
Grace’s Daughter, Sheila, 1944
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Grace’s daughter Sheila was born in 1942 and came to Canada with her mother in 1946.
Location: 0259.01.07
War Brides at Croydon, 1946
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Group photo of the group of war brides who came to Canada on the same ship with Grace Thomson. Grace and her daughter, Sheila, are standing at the far right.
Location: 0259.01.08
Neighbors in St. Walburg, 1946-1949
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
First neighbors for Grace and Joe in Walburg, Saskatchewan.
Location: 0259.01.09
Sawing Wood, 1946-1949
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Grace and Joe and Sheila Thomson learning to saw wood in St. Walburg, Saskatchewan.
Location: 0259.01.10
Hanging Out the Laundry, 1946-1949
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Grace hanging out laundry in St. Walburg, Saskatchewan.
Location: 0259.01.11
Baking Muffins, 1949-1971
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Grace is shown in her kitchen getting ready to bake a pan of muffins.
Location: 0259.01.12
Grace On Cleaning Day, 1949-1971
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Grace is shown in the doorway on her cleaning day.
Location: 0259.01.13
Grace as a Chimney Sweep, 1949-1971
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Grace is shown on her porch
Location: 0259.01.14
Grace Goes Shopping, 1949-1971
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Grace is shown with purse and shopping cart ready to go shopping.
Location: 0259.01.15
Grace Ready for Tea, 1949-1971
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Grace is shown seated at her table with her teapot in front of her.
Location: 0259.01.16
Foster Child Raymond, 1949-1971
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Location: 0259.01.17
Grace in Her Garden, 1949-1971
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Location: 0259.01.18
Grace Showing Her Life Poster, 2003
1 photograph; colour; 4 x 6
Grace Thomson shows off the poster of pictures and memories of her life in England and in Canada
Location: 0259.01.19
Alberta War Brides Skit, [2000]
1 photograph; colour; 4 x 6
Theatre was a big part of Grace Thomson’s retirement. Here she is in a skit during an Alberta War Brides Association Convention.
Location: 0259.01.20
A Tribute to Vera Lynn, 2004
1 photograph; colour; 4 x 6
Vera Lynn was a popular singer during the war years. Here, Grace Thomson sits by a tribute to Vera Lynn at the Alberta War Brides Convention.
Location: 0259.01.21
Grande Prairie War Brides, [2000]
1 photograph; colour; 4 x 6
Grace Thomson with two other English war brides from Grande Prairie, Violet Dryer and Audrey Cook, at an Alberta War Brides Convention.
Location: 0259.01.22
Grande Prairie War Brides, [2000]
1 photograph; colour; 4 x 6
Grace Thomson with sisters Violet Dryer and Winnie Kennedy, two other English war brides from Grande Prairie, at an Alberta War Brides Convention.
Location: 0259.01.23
War Brides Tour, [2000]
1 photograph; colour; 4 x 6
Ca. 2000, Grace Thomson went on a War Brides Tour of France and Britain. Here she is, singing with a group of war brides in Southampton, England.
Location: 0259.01.24
Alberta War Brides Assoc. Convention, [2000]
1 photograph; colour; 4 x 6
Grace Thomson and Audrey Cook singing with fellow Londoner War Brides at a convention in Medicine Hat, October 23, 1987.
Location: 0259.01.25
Victory over Europe Tour, 1995
1 photograph; colour; 4 x 6
In 1995, Audrey Thomson went on a tour with the War Brides Association, called the Victory over Europe Tour.
Location: 0259.01.26
Alberta War Brides Assoc. Convention, 1989
1 photograph; colour; 4 x 6
English war brides showing their stuff at the 19th Annual Reunion of War Brides.
Location: 0259.01.27
Grace Thomson with Friends, 1989
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Vi and Arnold Dryer, Grace Thomson and daughter Sheila Lockrem.
Location: 0259.01.28
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Series 259.02Vi Dryer. — 1943-2006. — 1 cm of textual records. — 8 photographs. — 1 sound recordings.Violet Remnant was a 16 year old shop assistant in Wrecclesham, Surrey, not far from the Canadian Army Base in Aldershot, when she first met Arnold Dryer at a dance in the Village Hall. Arnold’s squadron was billeted nearby in the village of Rowledge. The relationship blossomed, and from wherever Arnold’s squadron moved to, his letters found their way back to Violet. At 18, Vi joined the Air Force, working as a clerk in RAF records in Gloucestershire. When the war ended, they were afraid that Arnold would be drafted home, so with four days notice, they planned a wedding. “We still needed clothing coupons to buy new clothing,” Vi remembered. “I bought a royal blue dress, and my mother used seven of her own coupons to buy Arnold some Oxford shoes. There was no way she was going to let him go up the aisle in army boots!” After the wedding, Arnold was indeed sent back to Canada, and Vi waited for permission from the Canadian Wives Bureau to join him. She was discharged from the Air Force and put in time helping at the local post office. She had to be ready to go with only a couple of days’ notice. In June she sailed on the Aquatania with another bride bound for Grande Prairie, Betty Eskdale. Her sister-in-law, Mrs. Robert Dryer sailed at the same time, but on a ship of wives with babies. Violet remembers that it was the first time she wore pants, and that the food was marvelous because they were not on rations on the ship. There was a lot of fruit, and they hadn’t seen fruit for a long time. The war brides were processed through immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax. From there, they took a train across Canada. For five days, day and night, she endured the dirt, the heat and the constant rocking motion. They stopped in Quebec City on July 1, and by the 3rd had reached Edmonton. “The Red Cross nurse took us shopping. I paid $7.00 for a pair of shoes. She put us on a train for Grande Prairie.” The train trip seemed to go on forever. It was 90 degrees on July 4th when Vi arrived in Grande Prairie, and she was wearing a wool suit. Arnold’s entire family was there to meet her—Arnold in a striped de-mobilization suit. “It was the first time I had seen him in civilian clothing, and he had bee stings on one ear.” They walked up Richmond Avenue and went into the Palace Café. “Banana Split 25c” said a sign on the wall. The editor of the newspaper, J.B. Yule, was one person Vi met on her first day in Grande Prairie. The news of their arrival was proclaimed on the front page in the next issue of the paper: “Three War Brides Arrive Grande Prairie”. Neighbours also welcomed the war brides. In August, they gathered for a bridal shower, something they didn’t do in England. Gifts included a cream and sugar set, dishes, pillow slips, towels, and best of all a box of home canning! Although the young Mrs. Dryer was “homesick off and on” over the next year, she enjoyed being on the farm and the many good neighbours. Grande Prairie is still her home 60 years later.The series consists of an audio cassette recording of an interview with Violet Dryer in 2006; partial transcripts of 123 letters written by Arnold Dryer to Violet Remnant Dryer from 1943 to 1946, and copies of communications to Violet Remant regarding her marriage to Arnold and subsequent immigration to Canada as a war bride. The copied documents include: “Notice to Passengers: Control of Exports” which details what she take out of Britain to Canada; “Dock to Destination”, a pamphlet telling war brides what to expect when they arrived in Canada and instructions for the train journey across Canada; some papers from the Canadian Wives’ Bureau Civilian Repatriation Service. There are also eight photographs of Vi, her war service and her wedding. A biography based on the interview is included.
 
Arnold & Vi Dryer Wedding, 1944
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Arnold Dryer and Violet Remnant were married August 23, 1945. Violet’s royal blue dress and Arnold’s civilian shoes were purchased with ration coupons.
Location: 0259.02.01
Dryer-Remnant Wedding, 1944
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
The family group at Arnold and Violet Dryer’s wedding consisted of her sister Winnie, her mother and father, Mr. & Mrs. Remnant, and Vi’s uncle.
Location: 0259.02.02
Dryer-Remnant Wedding, 1944
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Arnold and Vi Dyer’s wedding in the village of Wrecklesham was attended by close family and neighbours from the village.
Location: 0259.02.03
Vi Remnant With Her Regiment, 1943
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Vi Remnant with her regiment.
Location: 0259.02.04
Vi Remnant In Uniform, 1943
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Vi with uniform including hat.
Location: 0259.02.05
Portrait of Vi Remnant In Uniform, 1943
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Studio portrait of Vi Remnant in uniform.
Location: 0259.02.06
Portrait of Vi Remnant Out of Uniform, 1943
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Studio portrait of Vi Remnant out of uniform.
Location: 0259.02.07
Group Standing on Steps, 1943
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
A group of men and women assembled on steps.
Location: 0259.02.08
 
Vi Dryer Audio, 2006
Audio Cassette
One cassette recording of an interview with Vi Dryer recording her experiences as a war bride.
Location: 259.02.09
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Series 259.03Margaret Weaver. — 1943-2006. — .5 cm of textual records. — 1 photographs. — 1 sound recordings.Margaret Stanton was born in St. Alban’s, England and joined the Field Army Nursing Yeomanry in 1938. She drove an ambulance and ration truck during the War and later was employed taking away gun emplacements and transporting prisoners of war. She met Art at a USO show put on by the Americam army and they were married in Aldershot on January 23, 1946. There son, Ken, was born that same year and after Art left for Canada, she and Ken boarded the Queen Mary with thousands of other brides and children for their trip to Canada. They lived near Cadogan, Alberta and later moved to Grande Prairie. She never went back to England.The series consists of an audio cassette recording of an interview with Margaret Weaver regarding her experience as a war bride coming to Canada from England after World War II. There is also a photograph of Marg during her war service and a copy of the marriage certificate. A biography based on the interview is included.
 
Margaret Weaver, 1943-1946
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
The series consists of one photograph, one sound recording and a copy of the marriage certificate.
Location: 0259.03.01
 
Margaret Weaver Audio, 2006
Audio Cassette
One cassette recording of an interview with Margaret Weaver recording her experiences as a war bride.
Location: 259.03.02
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Series 259.04Wilhelmina Johnston. — 1943-2006. — .5 cm of textual records. — 3 photographs.Wilhemina Beekmans was born in the Netherlands and was twelve years old when the Germans invaded. She also lived in a district first to be liberated in 1944 and in 1945 she met Clarence Johnston, a member of the Canadian contingency stationed there. Because Wilhelmina was under-age, Clarence volunteered to stay with the Allied Army another year and they were married in April, 1946. A week later, Clarence was on his way back to Canada and his new eighteen year-old wife would follow in October. They tried farming near Calais but eventually moved to Grande Prairie where Clarence evenually established Johnson’s Homes & Trusses.The series consists of 3 photographs, one sound recording, and a copy of the transcript of the sound recording as summarized for the War Brides booklet.
 
Wedding of Wilhemina and Clarence Johnston, 1946
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Wilhelmina and Clarence Johnston pose for a wedding photo in 1946.
Location: 0259.04.01
Clarence and Willy Johnston, 1960 c.
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Clarence and Willy Johnston photographed in 1960.
Location: 0259.04.02
Clarence and Willy Johnston With Children, 1955
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Clarence and Willy with their young family of five children.
Location: 0259.04.03
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Series 259.05Aleyda Campbell. — 1945-2006. — .5 cm of textual records.Aleyda Leenders was born in the Hague, Netherlands and was a teenager when war broke out. Her father was called up to the Dutch Army and in 1940 the Leeders family was ordered out of their house and her father was taken prisoner. The children with their mother lived in Belgium for 6 weeks and after they were allowed back into Holland, Piep completed high school and spent the rest of the war years working as a telephone operator. She met her husband, Colin, when her brother brought him home as one of the Canadian soldiers who had no place to live. They were married in November, 1945. Colin was shipped back home in January, 1946, and Piep and their son, Kenneth, followed in January, 1947.The series consists of 5 pages of autobiographical notes, and a copy of a letter from the Captain, Senior Medical Officer of the Ship, the “Aquitania” and a copy of a newspaper item from the 1990s concerning the federal government’s honoring of the war brides. A biography based on the interview is included.
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Series 259.06Margaret Krzyczkowski. — 1943-1946. — .5 cm of textual records. — 4 photographs.Margaret Akkerman was from the town of Winschoten, Holland, where she met Frank after the Second World War in 1945. They were married on January 10, 1946 and she left Rotterdam in July and arrived in Webster, Alberta, on September 4, 1946. The forest, cold long winters and farming were all new to her and Frank often had to work off the farm. They had three children, Frank, Irene and Yvonne. Frank died at the age of 62 but Margaret rented out the farm, learned to drive and remain there until 1996.The series consists of 3 photograph copies of pictures featured in a 2 page story of Margaret and Frank’searly married life. A biography based on the interview is included.
 
Krzyczkowski House in Webster, 1946
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
A copy of a photograph which is contained in the biographical information of Margaret Krzyczkowski.
Location: 0259.06.01
Margaret Krzyczkowski and Frank Jr., 1948
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Photograph shows Margaret propping up her first baby, Frank, for the photographer.
Location: 0259.06.02
Margaret Krzyczkowski and Frank Jr., 1948
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Margaret with Frank Jr. and her friend Tina Kozy, another Dutch war bride who lived in Spirit River.
Location: 0259.06.03
Margaret and Frank Krzyczkowski Wedding, 1948
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Margaret with Frank Jr. and her friend Tina Kozy, another Dutch war bride who lived in Spirit River.
Location: 0259.06.04
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Series 259.07Gretha Gerow. — 1949 -2006. — .5 cm of textual records. — 3 photographs. — 1 sound recordings.Gretha Snoek was born in Leerdam, Holland. During the War she taught in an elementary school. By 1944, the schools had to operate in shifts as the Germans took over many buildings for their quarters and by 1945 schools were shut down. She then worked as a social worker with refugees and evacuees from bombed and flooded areas. Germans were billeted in their home. They were lucky as they operated a store and kept a secret storage room with supplies they could barter for food. She met her husband at a soccer match – a local team against the Canadians who had come in the spring of 1945. She and Bob Gerow were married Jan 8, 1946, and she came to Canada with other brides on the Aquitania taking a five day trip across the ocean, then a long train trip to arrive in Sexsmith. First they lived in a small shack near Bob’s parents. It was hard to adjust to no water, electricity and poor roads but she made friends with a neighbor, Emily Student, who was also from Holland. They had two children and when they were grown, fostered nine others.The series consists of 3 photographs, and copies of documents related to the war years and her arrangements for immigration to Canada and one sound recording of an interview with her. A biography based on the interview is included.
 
The Wedding of Gretha and Bob Gerow, 1946
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Wedding picture of Gretha Snoek and Bob Gerow
Location: 0259.07.01
Gretha Snoek With Her Students, 1940
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Picture of Gretha Snoek with a group of her students
Location: 0259.07.02
Gretha Snoek With Her Students, 1941
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Picture of Gretha Snoek with a group of her students
Location: 0259.07.03
 
Gretha Gerow Audio, 2006
Audio Cassette
One cassette recording of an interview with Gertha Gerow recording her experiences as a war bride.
Location: 259.07.04
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Series 259.08Jean Conrad Drysdale. — 1935-2006. — .5 cm of textual records. — 14 photographs.Jean Farmer was born, one of four children, in the farming district of Scotland, north of Edinburgh. During the War, she worked as a cook for the Air Force, including two years with a Canadian Squadron at Lindon. There she met Jack Conrad. They were married June 9, 1945, and ten days later, Jack was shipped home. Jean followed in March, 1946, aboard the Aquitania with other war brides. She was sick for the first two days but then enjoyed the great food. At Pier 21, she remembers the Red Cross ladies taking them shopping – her first experience of an Eaton’ store. Jack met her in Edmonton and they came to Clairmont by train. When they got to Jack’s parents, his mother had saved her largest turkey for the occasion and had invited a Scottish family as well. They raised four children on their farm: Collin, Calvin, Ann and Holly.The series consists of 14 photographs, a booklet, ” Memories of Linton”, and a biography summary based on the taped interview.
 
Jack Conrad, [1945]
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Jack Conrad with horses and dog in front of the family home.
Location: 0259.08.01
Jack Conrad, [1945]
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Jack Conrad standing on the front porch of the family home.
Location: 0259.08.02
Jack Conrad and Baby, [1945]
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Jack Conrad holding a baby while sitting on a horse drawn wagon.
Location: 0259.08.03
Christmas Dinner, [1945]
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Jack Conrad and Jean Drysdale preparing Christmas dinner .
Location: 0259.08.04
Jean’s Son and Dog, [1945]
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
One of Jean Drysdale’s children sitting in a sleigh beside the family dog.
Location: 0259.08.05
Christmas, [1955]
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Jack and Jean Drysdale, with children Collin, Calvin and Ann, in front of the Christmas tree.
Location: 0259.08.06
Jack Conrad, [1945]
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Jack Conrad in uniform.
Location: 0259.08.07
Jean Drysdale, [1940]
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x6
Jean Drysdale in uniform. Jean spent two years as a cook for the Air Force in England and two years with Canadian squadron 426 in Linton, Yorkshire, England.
Location: 0259.08.08
Jack Conrad and Baby, [1945]
1 photograph; b & w; 4 X 6
Jack Conrad holding a baby while sitting on a horse drawn wagon.
Location: 0259.08.09
Jean Drysdale and Children, [1945]
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x6
Jean Drysdale sitting beside two of her four children; Collin, Calvin, Ann and Holly.
Location: 0259.08.10
Swans, [1945]
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Swans on the front porch of the Drysdale home.
Location: 0259.08.11
Washing Machine, [1945]
1 photograph; b & w; 4 X 6
Jean Drysdale operating a wringer washing machine on the porch of her home with one of her children nearby.
Location: 0259.08.12
Jean’s Son on a Tractor, [1950]
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
One of Jean’s sons sits on a tractor.
Location: 0259.08.13
Jean Drysdale, Wedding, 1945
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Jean Drysdale and Jack Conrad photographed at the United Free Church of Scotland on their wedding day, June 9, 1945.
Location: 0259.08.14
 
Jean Drysdale Audio, 2006
Audio Cassette
One cassette recording of an interview with Jean Drysdale recording her experiences as a war bride.
Location: 259.08.15
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Series 259.09Margaret LeCerf. — 2006. — .5 cm of textual records.Margaret Le Cerf was born in Canterbury, Kent, England on February 3, 1927. When war started, the entire famly was dedicated to do what they could for the war effort. As soon as she was old enough, Margaret joined the ATS. She met her husband, Henri, the day her sister was married in 1945 and they were married on February 8, 1946. Henri left for Canada immediately and she folowed in August, 1946. Her first home was in a lumber camp in Nordegg and then later a farm in Rocky Mountain House. When her husband got transferred to High Level with the forestry she was ready for life in a trailer and eventually electricity and running water. In 1972 they moved to Grande Prairie.The series consists of 5 pages of text containing Margaret’s story as a War Bride, coming from England to Canada after World War II.
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Series 259.10Marjorie Pettit. — 1940-2006. — .5 cm of textual records. — 1 photographs. — 1 postcards. — 1 sound recordings.Marjorie Presswell grew up in Haselmere, Surrey County, England and she worked as a cook for a surgeon during the WW II. There were army bases all around her home so she met her future husband, Art Poirier in her home town. They were married April 2, 1942. Art then was stationed in Seafort where Marj lived when Art went to fight in France. Art was taken prisoner and held by the Germans for four years. At war’s end he was shipped back to Aldershot and then home. Marj came to Canada aboard the Letitia and eventually arrived in Sexsmith. It was a tough adjustment for her, hauling water from a well, ploughing with horses, taking lunches to the field. They had three children.The series consists of an audio cassette recording of an interview with Marjorie Poirier Pettit regarding her experiences coming to Canada from England as a war bride after World War II. Also included are copies of her wedding photograph, a postcard of “The Letitia” used to illustrate her story and a biography based on the interview.
 
Marj Pettit, Wedding, 1942
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Marj Pettit and Art Poirier photographed on their wedding day, April 2, 1942, in Fernhurst, England.
Location: 0259.10.01
 
Marj Pettit Audio, 2006
Audio Cassette
One cassette recording of an interview with Marj Pettit recording her experiences as a war bride.
Location: 259.10.02
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Series 259.11Audrey Cook. — 1940-2006. — .5 cm of textual records. — 1 photographs.Audrey was born in 1927 in London. She had already lost her father when WW II broke out and she was evacuated to Reading and billeted with another family. Entire schools were crowded into other schools. At fourteen she worked in a book bindery and after her mother died when she was 17, she worked in a factory. She met her future husband, John Cook, at Trafalgar Square and they kept dating during the war years. They were married on Dec 23, 1945. John returned to Canada February 4, 1946, and Audrey came on the Queen Mary in August, 1946. She came to Medicine Hat where they had three of their children before moving to Eureka River to farm. It was very isolated farm and distances were great. There was no running water or electricity, and she never expected that kind of a life. After seven years, she had to travel to Grande Prairie with her son for medical attention. After experiencing running water, electricity,and heat, she was not going back to the bush. She still lives in Grande Prairie in 2006.The series consists of 3 photographs, and copies of documents related to the war years and her arrangements for immigration to Canada and one sound recording of an interview with her. A biography based on the interview is included.
 
Audrey Cook, Wedding, 1945
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Audrey and John Cook photographed on their wedding day, December 23, 1945.
Location: 0259.11.01
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Series 259.12Betty Eskdale. — 2006. — .5 cm of textual records. — 1 sound recordings.Betty Fleming grew up in Portsmouth, England, a naval port and when war broke out the children were evacuated to the country right away. Betty and her sister went to New Forest but when the bombing hadn’t started by Christmas, they went home. Then when the bombing did start the following April, all three children were evacuated. Betty’s father was killed in 1941 and she went to work at fourteen, working under a nanny. The Anglican Church would put on social evenings and that is where she met Tom Eskdale in 1944. Tom was soon posted to Italy and Holland and they corresponded for a year. They were marred in October, 1945 and Tom went home to Canada. Betty’s mother had also remarried a Canadian soldier and they both came to Canada as war brides. Betty came on the Aquitania, then the train to Edmonton and to Grande Prairie. Tom farmed with his father and had built a 9×12 cabin for them to live in. In winter he went to work in the lumber camps. With two children ready to start school and getting hailed out, the farm was not able to support them, so they moved into town. Betty still lives in Grande Prairie.The series consists of 3 photographs, and copies of documents related to the war years and her arrangements for immigration to Canada and one sound recording of an interview with her. A biography based on the interview is included.
 
Betty Eskdale Audio, 2006
Audio Cassette
One cassette recording of an interview with Betty Eskdale recording her experiences as a war bride.
Location: 259.12.01
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Series 259.13Grace Nellis. — 1946-2006. — .5 cm of textual records. — 1 photographs. — 1 sound recordings.Grace Taylor grew up in Surrey County, England. She was nineteen when the war started so went to work in a factory doing precision work for war service. She met Harry at a dance and they were married August 28, 1945, and went golfing after the wedding. She came over to Canada on the Aquitania and Harry met her in Edmonton for her introduction to muddy roads home to Bezanson. The adjustments coming from a small, private family to entering a boisterous clan and active community were huge and she thought she would never get used to it but she did. They had three boys and were married 60 years before Harry died.The series consists of 3 photographs, and copies of documents related to the war years and her arrangements for immigration to Canada and one sound recording of an interview with her. A biography based on the interview is included.
 
Grace Nellis, Wedding, 1945
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Grace and Harry Nellis photographed on their wedding day, August 28, 1945.
Location: 0259.13.01
 
Grace Nellis Audio, 2006
Audio Cassette
One cassette recording of an interview with Grace Nellis recording her experiences as a war bride.
Location: 259.13.02
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Series 259.14Hilary Lightfoot. — 1944-2006. — .5 cm of textual records. — 1 sound recordings.Hilary grew up in Birmingham, England. She well remembers the air raids during the war, blacking out the windows at night, rationing of food and clothing. Her war work was in a factory drilling holes in metal, then another was spot welding fins for bombs. She spent off duty hours at the South Coast where many soldiers were stationed. She met Jim Lightfoot at a dance. He was with the Canadian Scottish Regiments and had been wounded and sent back to Aldershot. They were married in December, 1944. Hilary left England in 1945 on the Brittanic, along with about 1000 other brides and children. Those, like Hilary, who were pregnant were housed together in small cabins. Many were seasick, partly due to eating too much of the good food provided. The entire trip to Grande Prairie took three weeks. Being from the second largest city in England, the adjustments to Grande Prairie and in 1946 to a farm in Blueberry Mountain were overwhelming at times. They farmed until 1969 when she and Jim separated. As she now had two teenagers, she moved to Spirit River and got a job in the hospital there. In 2004, she moved into Wild Rose Manor.The series consists of 1 audio cassette recording an interview with Hilary Lighfoot and Daphne Derocher at Wild Rose Manor, a Seniors Residence in Grande Prairie. Interviewer is Mary Nutting and the subject is Hilary’s experience as an English War Bride coming to Canada after World War II. A biography based on the interview is included.
 
Hilary Lightfoot, Wedding, 1944
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Hilary and Jim Lightfoot photographed with their wedding party in December of 1944.
Location: 0259.14.01
Hilary Lightfoot, Wedding, 1944
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Hilary and Jim Lightfoot photographed on their wedding day in December of 1944.
Location: 0259.14.02
 
Hilary Lightfoot, 2006
Audio Cassette
One cassette recording of an interview with Hilary Lightfoot recording her experiences as a war bride.
Location: 259.14.03
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Series 259.15Daphne Derocher. — 2006. — .5 cm of textual records. — 1 sound recordings.Daphne was born in Dorking, Surrey, England. She was fifteen when the war started and working in a department store, modelling dresses. Her war work became making microphone switches in a secret factory. She met her future husband as she was cycling around with a friend. Edmond and Daphne, now 21, had a small wedding and reception in her parents’ garden. She came to Canada on the Letitia along with other war brides, her 20 month old baby and expecting her second. After boarding the train in Halifax, she was delayed in Saskatoon when her daughter developed pneumonia. When she got off the train in Grande Prairie and Edmond met her, she asked him where Grande Prairie was. She had imagined a much bigger town. They tried to get a VLA home but were unsuccessful, so bought a little place. Later they moved to Sexsmith.The series consists of 1 audio cassette recording an interview with Daphne Derocher and Hilary Lightfoot at Wild Rose Manor, a Seniors Residence in Grande Prairie. Interviewer is Mary Nutting and the subject is Daphne’s experience as an English War Bride coming to Canada after World War II. A biography based on the interview is included.
 
Daphne Derocher, 2006
Audio Cassette
One cassette recording of an interview with Daphne Derocher recording her experiences as a war bride.
Location: 259.15.01
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Series 259.16Mary Tangen. — 2006. — .5 cm of textual records. — 1 sound recordings.Mary Harrison was born in North Shields, near Newcastle, England. She was 13 when the War started. She was originally evacuated with others but they were moved back home when they got too homesick. After high school she worked in the Air Raid Precautions group taking messages from one post to another on her bicycle. She was on holiday in Edinurough with her parents when she met Bjarne Tangen waiting in a lineup for a train. They were married several years later in 1945 and he returned to Canada the same year. She came on the Aquitania in 1946. The vastness of the country amazed her. Bjarne met her in Edmonton and they traveled by train to Hythe. She had never been on a farm in her life but she grew to love it. In 1961, they moved to Grande Prairie. They raised two girls and one boy.The series consists of 1 audio cassette recording an interview with Mary Tangen at Wild Rose Manor, a Seniors Residence in Grande Prairie. Interviewer is Mary Nutting and the subject is Mary’s experience as an English War Bride coming to Canada after World War II. A biography based on the interview is included.
 
Mary Tangen, 2006
Audio Cassette
One cassette recording of an interview with Mary Tangen recording her experiences as a war bride.
Location: 259.16.01
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Series 259.17Cathy Golding. — 1939-2006. — .5 cm of textual records. — 3 photographs. — 1 sound recordings.Cathy Simons was a Conductress for the DABO Buss Company in Groningen, Holland when World War II broke out. By 1940, she had married Klaas Bok. Her husband died from complications of juvenile diabetes in1943 and with a young son to care for she returned to work for DABO. After the liberation, Selwyn Golding’s Canadian company was camped on the outskirts of Groningen and she met him one evening on her way to locate her brother. Just as Selwyn was to finish his tour of duty, he received word his mother was ill and he returned to Canada. To get approval for Cathy and her son, Lucas, to come to Canada meant she had to prove she was not a German collaborator. Post-war travel demanded she travel via Sweden to New York and then by train to Saskatoon where family met her. She and Selwyn were married in Prince Albert and arrived in the Peace country in 1947 when Selwyn took a job as grader operator on the Alaska Highway. They moved to Grande Prairie in 1949.The series consists of 1 audio cassette recording an interview with Cathy Golding. Interviewer is Mary Nutting and the subject is Cathy’s experience as an English War Bride coming to Canada after World War II. A biography based on the interview is included.
 
Cathy Golding, [1939]
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
When World War II began in 1939, Catherina Simons was a conductress for the DABO Bus Company in Groningen, Holland.
Location: 0259.17.01
Cathy Golding, Wedding, 1947
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Cathy, her son Lucas and Selwyn Golding photographed on their wedding day in front of the Prince Albert Anglican Church in 1947.
Location: 0259.17.02
 
Cathy Golding, 2006
Audio Cassette
One cassette recording of an interview with Cathy Golding recording her experiences as a war bride.
Location: 259.17.03
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Series 259.18Sheila Peterson. — 1925-1945. — .5 cm of textual records. — 1 photographs.Sheila Figgins was born May17, 1925, and grew up in Lymington on the south coastof England. Her father worked for a wealthy family as a chauffeur and her mother often cooked for them as well. Finishing school at fourteen, Sheila went to work for a neighbor, Mrs. Lacey, whose husband was in the Navy and got to travel coastal areas with the family, looking after their little girl. When she turned sixteen, she was required to work for the war effort and returned to Lymington and started work in a factory. By this time there were many troops stationed nearby and on Christmas Eve, 1943, on a dare, she kissed the Canadian soldier with mistletoe dangling overhead, and the romance with Earl Peterson began. They were married in January, 1945. Earl then went back to Holland until the end of the war and then to repatriation camp. Sheila came to Canada aboard the SS Letitia in May, 1946, three months after Earl. The food aboard the ship was wonderful after all the years of rations. Many women and children were sea sick and several babies were born on the ship. The train trip was long but army personnel helped prepare them for Canadian life. In Winnipeg they were allowed off the train for a few hours and Sheila went shopping for a cotton dress and sandals. In Edmonton the Red Cross found accomodation for the women to stay overnight until they could get another train for their final destination. Sheila arrived in Grande Prairie where she and Earl stayed for a few days before going to Debolt to stay with Earl’s mother until they got their own home. Her mother-in-law was wonderful, teaching her how to care for fires, use coal-oil lamps and bake bread. Earl worked at Bickell’s mill. They took a homestead northwest of Debolt , living in Debolt for the winter and moving to a small house at the homestead in the spring. Their first daughter, Lois, was born in February, 1947; their second, Dawn, in November, 1948; and then Michael was born in 1953. Sheila picked roots and rocks, planted a garden and looked after three children there. They had moved to the old Sheltreau place by the time Julia was born in July, 1956. Lois and Dawn went to Edson Trail School and the family had an active social life, visits and card playing, going to movies and and dances in the Debolt Hall. Earl began working on the oil rigs to supplement farming and in 1958 their last child, Nicholas, was born. When he started school, Sheila started working at the Debolt Hotel. After a few years of hail and drought, they sold the farm and bought a fifteen acre plot east of Debolt. They built a nice home in 1964. Earl suffered his first heart attck in 1965, and after open heart surgery, suffered another attack which ended his working career. They sold the acreage and moved into a mobile home in Debolt where Sheila could walk to work. Earl’s health gradually deteriorated and he died in 1987. Sheila still lives in Debolt. She has made several trips back to England, Holland and France.The series consists of an autobiography “Memoirs of Sheila Peterson” as told to Sheila’s daughter, a wedding photograph, and copies of a birth certificate and a wedding certificate.
 
Sheila Peterson, Wedding, 1945
1 photograph; colour; 4 x 6
Sheila Figgins married Earl Peterson January 12, 1945.
Location: 0259.18.01
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