Apr 8, 2011

Australian WWII War Brides in the United States

Many Australian war brides may have heard the song The Bridal Train by The Waifs. It tells the story about Aussie gals from Perth taking a special train across Australia to the east coast to board the SS Mariposa to sail to the US to be with their US sailor and GI sweethearts. If you haven't heard it or seen the video please stop by YouTube to view it.
A theatre piece called The Bridal Train is currently under development in Brisbane, Australia.

The writers are seeking war brides who originate from Australia and travelled to the USA are willing to share their stories. These stories will be compiled into a script that will be performed for educational and entertainment purposes in 2012.

The Bridal Train began as a Griffith University performance as part of first year course work in 2007, and the positive responses from audience members and professional peers has encouraged them to continue the development of the piece. In the interest of historic accuracy they are seeking true stories from women who travelled from Australia to meet husbands and fiances in the USA.
The project deadline is 27 May 2011.

Please contact either Chelsea Thomas thomaschelsean@gmail.com in Brisbane or Michele of the American War Bride Experience website: uswarbrides@yahoo.com

Australian Citizenship for War Brides and their Children

Don't forget that the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 gives Australian-born war brides who lost their Australian citizenship by becoming US citizens before 4/4/2002 the right to apply to resume Australian citizenship now (and thereby become dual citizens).

US-born children of Australian-born war brides can now also apply for Australian citizenship by descent or special conferral. For further guidance, email the SCG.

Jan 21, 2011

Elizabeth Guyver looking for WWII soldier David Greene

War children's search U.S. dads gets urgent

By Edward Colimore Inquirer Staff Writer

Beth Guyver never knew her father. For most of her life, the London resident believed he was a British pilot, killed during World War II. She thought he had died just before her birth in 1945. The truth came out at a family Christmas dinner in 1990. Her mother looked across the table at one of Guyver's sons, then 18, and made a startling observation: He looked just like an American GI she had known in 1944 . . . just like Guyver's father. The revelation changed Guyver's life. For nearly two decades since then, she has been searching for her father, David Greene, a Pennsylvania man who was stationed at an Army Air Corps base in Chelveston, Northamptonshire, in the fall of 1944. She has spent thousands of British pounds, filled up nine two-drawer filing cabinets with correspondence, and traveled to the United States, even knocking on doors in Philadelphia as she tried to find him. Today, Father's Day, is emotional for her. Time is running out. Every day that passes makes her long-anticipated reunion less likely. "Half of me is missing," said the 63-year-old clinical psychologist. "I don't feel a complete person." Guyver is one of tens of thousands of children across Europe and the Pacific who were fathered by American GIs during World War II. They are in England, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, and elsewhere. The sons and daughters are in their 60s and the fathers in their 80s or 90s, giving the search a now-or-never urgency. "I would like to know what he did with his life," Guyver said. "Where did his family come from? I did my family tree to 1295 on my mother's side, and I went back to 1442 on my husband's side. But I can't do anything on my father's side." Guyver said her mother and father had met a few times at dances in Chelveston in October and November 1944 while he served as an Army dispatch rider, probably in a support unit of the 305th Bombardment Group of the Eighth Air Force. She served in Britain's Women's Auxiliary Air Force. "He told my mother he had been in the police force before," Guyver said. "It might have been in Philadelphia or Pittsburgh. He said he went out on a domestic call one time and was hit over the head with a frying pan. My mother thought that was quite good." People from many backgrounds were thrown together during the war and struck up quick friendships. Guyver's mother used to see Greene riding his motorbike around the air base. He was a striking GI, standing 6 feet tall, weighing about 160 pounds, with an athletic build. "During World War II, life was so different in Great Britain. . . . You could be bombed at any time and be gone," Guyver said. "You could be dead just like that. You lived for the moment." Guyver's mother became pregnant, gave birth, tried unsuccessfully to find the GI, and ended up marrying a member of the British navy. Even now, the 87-year-old - whose identity was withheld by her daughter - keeps her GI secret, not wishing to carry the stigma of giving birth to a "war babe." "She just wanted to forget him. She doesn't know if he survived the war," Guyver said. If he's living, "my father doesn't know he has a daughter, two grandsons, and four great-grandchildren." Some of the GI children have joined support organizations such as Transatlantic Childrens' Enterprise, known as TRACE (www.tracepw.org/), a British group founded by a GI war bride, and www.gitrace.org, which offers tips for finding fathers and useful online links. The music of "Somewhere Out There" plays over the gitrace Web site, and poems express the feelings of those still looking for their fathers. One, by Janette Taylor, reads in part: I've longed to know my father the heartaches never end I've missed his love and comfort my broken heart he'd mend! Part of me is missing I'm feeling incomplete Oh Lord look after daddy until the day we meet. Guyver listed her father on the site's search list, hoping to hear from someone who has information about him. She also has written countless letters and made innumerable phone calls looking for leads. In 1997, she flew to Philadelphia to follow up on a tip from a friend in Hatfield who had information from a Philadelphia police officer that seemed promising: the city address of a David Greene who had been on the force. It turned out the man had died the previous year. She knocked on neighbors' doors and found they weren't sure whether he was 60 or 80 years old.

Undaunted, Guyver headed on to Pittsburgh to check more leads, later returning to England without an answer. Today, the search of the war babies continues. This weekend, one of Guyver's friends is looking for leads on his father at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. "Some have been lucky and found their fathers," Guyver said. "There are many like myself who are still searching. None of us feel that we are a complete person as we have no knowledge of 50 percent of our genes. "Some, like myself, have medical problems," added Guyver, who has a blood disorder, "and it would be a great help to our treatment if we had our paternal family history." Guyver thinks of her father often and tries to picture him. "I imagine he would be like my son because my mother said he looked like him when he was 18," she said. "She gets very frustrated, and I see it," said the son, Gerald, 37, a database employee for the Metropolitan Police at New Scotland Yard. "She does have her moments. "She sees everyone else finding their parents, and she's the one who can't find her father." But Guyver is not giving up. "I feel like I will find him," she said. "I'm a determined person. My mother said I'm like my father. June 21, 2009

Elizabeth ‘Beth’ Guyver

Aug 14, 2010

The War Bride

I would like to share with you a movie about an English war bride who married a Canadian soldier.  It will give you some ideals as to what many of the thousand of brides had to face.  The loneliness, language problems, tears, missing family and friends back home, city life, dancing and drinking, parties, and much, much more.  Dealing with his family, his problems, his drinking, in many cases.  The War Bride

Aug 9, 2010

Czech Republic Remembers American Sacrifice during WWII


Have you ever wondered if anyone in Europe remembers America's sacrifice in World War II? There is an answer in a small town in the Czech Republic. The town called Pilsen (Plzen)

Every five years Plzen conducts the Liberation Celebration of the City of Pilsen in the Czech Republic. May 6th, 2010 marked the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Pilsen by General George Patton's 3rd Army.

Pilsen is the town that every American should visit.

Because…..they love America and the American Soldier...

even 65 years later.......by the thousands

the citizens of Pilsen came to say thank you...

lining the streets of Pilsen for miles.
From large crowds…

To quiet reflective moments…

Including this American family's private time to honor and remember their American hero.

This is the crash site of Lt. Virgil P. Kirkham, the last recorded American USAAF pilot killed in Europe during WWII. It was Lt. Kirkham's 82nd mission and one that he volunteered to go on.

At the time this 20 year old pilot's P-47 Thunderbolt plane was shot down, a young 14 year old Czech girl, Zdenka Sladkova, was so moved by his sacrifice she made a vow to care for him and his memory.

For 65 straight years , Zdenka, now 79 years old, took on the responsibility to care for Virgil'scrash site and memorial near her home.

On May 4th she was recognized by the Mayor of Zdenka's home town of Trhanova, Czech Republic, for her sacrifice and extraordinary effort to honor this American hero.

Another chapter in this important story.....the Czech people are teaching their children about America's sacrifice for their freedom.

American Soldiers, young and old, are the ''Rock Stars'' these children and their parents want autographs from..

Yes, Rock Stars ! ... As they patiently waited for his autograph, the respect this little Czech boy and his father have for our troops serving today was heartwarming and inspirational.

The Brian LaViolette Foundation will established The Scholarship of Honor in tribute to General George S. Patton and the American Soldier, past and present.

Each year, a different military hero will be honored in tribute to General Patton's memory and their mission to liberate Europe.

This award will be presented to a graduating senior who will be entering the military or a form of community service such as fireman, policeman, teaching or nursing, a cause greater than self. The student will be from one of the five high schools in Pilsen, Czech Republic.

The first award will be presented in May 2011 in honor of Lt. Virgil Kirkham, that young 20 year old P-47 pilot killed 65 years ago in the final days of WWII.

Presenting Virgil's award will be someone who knows the true meaning of service and sacrifice... someone who looks a lot like Virgil…

Marion Kirkham, Virgil's brother, who himself served during WWII in the United States Army - Air Corps. !!!

In closing... Here is what the city of Pilsen thinks of General Patton's grandson. George Patton Waters (another Rock Star!) we're proud to say, serves on Brian's Foundation board.

And it's front page news.. not buried in the middle of the social section..

Brigadier General Miroslav Zizka - 1st Deputy Chief of Staff - Ministry of Defense - Czech Armed Forces.

So please join this amazing journey…

Come visit Pilsen in the Czech Republic during the first part of May 2011, it may also be a life changing experience for you.

And please share this email with your family and friends and ask them to do the same.....every American should hear this story.

Apr 19, 2010

Claudette Pfingston commented on your post:

"My Mother told me she breast fed a lot of the other mother's babies, because the other mothers were so sea sick. My Mother told me she didn't get sea sick and had a lot of breast milk. - Claudette

Doris Galentine commented on your post:

"I didn't get seasick , we used cloth diapers when we came over, and had to wash them, my daughter was 15 month old and every morning the steward would take her to the kitchen and she would come back with cookies or friut, one day he told me I looked a little green but I didnt get sick."  -Doris

Apr 15, 2010

Dealing with babies on the ships.

Can any warbride tell me about how you all managed your babies on board ships, please? I'm writing a book about women on the wartime seas and would love to know how did you cleanse the bottles, launder the diapers, cope with nursing a baby if you yourself were seasick, and make up the formula in hygienic conditions?

In talking about the Argentina's January 1946 voyage from the UK to the US, The Argentina ‘s Lt. Col. Lyle commented that laundry was one of the trip’s problems. Practically all of the 18,000 disposable diapers were used up-on the 170 babies.

This statistic enables us to do some interesting speculation. If there were indeed 170 babies rather than babies and potty-trained children on board then actually each one used 105 nappies on the nine-day trip or eleven a day. Babies are usually changed 6-10 times a day. So maybe some mothers salted away the nappies for future use.

As for laundering terry toweling nappies a ship full of 100 babies would need to process 1200-400 nappies (two day’s supply to allow for drying time). It was surely a logistical nightmare. Not every ship had a laundry; few had endless supplies of fresh rather than salt-water and none were used to supplying such a quantity.

There were three problems soaking to get rid of stains and any remaining faecal matter; boiling to get them, Enviably white as well as reduce bacteria; and a drying time of at lest two hours. Most nappies were 24inches square (61cms)-so 400 would have required 4-800 feet of clothes line, almost a mile. Perhaps one good thing about sailing on a troop ships was that they had massive cooking pots which could now boil nappies instead of potatoes?

Thank you. Dr Jo Stanley , j_v_stanley@hotmail.com.