Mom rented a little house near his air base and all their moments together were haunted by the alarming rate at which the RAF pilots and crew were being shot down. I was born in 1941. Unfortunately I was very ill as a baby and spent the first 9 months of my life in hospital. To say life was difficult would be an understatement. My mother told me how all the RAF wives would stand and watch the squadrons coming home, counting the aircraft coming in. Hoping and praying they would all return. A lot did not. When they returned at night the space in the formation of the Aircraft was left open if a flyer was missing. One night my father's plane was notably missing. She soon received the ‘telegram’ informing her that he was considered ‘Missing in action’
The waiting began... Mom moved back home to be with her parents, And the bombs continued to fall over England. Air raid sirens going on and off all night every night as England was pounded with German bombardment. Mother turned the radio on each night to listen to the broadcast of the ‘British traitor’ who was called ‘Lord haw haw’ (an alias, I found out recently, his real name was William Joyce. He was captured by the British after the war and hanged for treason in 1946) Each night he would taunt the British about: How Germany was winning the war, how the British were surrendering etc. after he had spouted his propaganda at them he would then list the British soldiers and airmen who had been captured. A lot of nights were spent listening to this dismal little man but Mother hoped to hear something, anything about my father...nothing... Most nights were spent hiding in an Air raid shelter, and little sleep was received. A very frightening time. My Grandmother finally talked mother into going out one night to the movies for a break promising that she would listen to the radio for her. And wouldn't you know it! That was the night his name was listed as a POW in Germany. My grandmother ran all the way to the movie theater to tell mom that my father was alive and in a German prison camp.
It was 3 1/2 years before she saw him again. I didn't know who he was being too young to remember. Mom almost didn't recognize him either. He was thin and ill and not the ‘happy go lucky’ man he had been. He had lived a ‘lifetime’ in those years of imprisonment and torture
My mom had also lived a lifetime coping with rationing, shortages of food, a sick baby, bombing raids every night and the terrible fear of not knowing what tomorrow would bring, but the future, at the end of the war seemed promising and they set off to begin a new life in Canada. Mom traveled with me on a troop ship as a British war bride and my father was demobilized and sent back to Vancouver, British Columbia. They started life over. Although I was never hungry as a child during the war the rations were so scarce that I had never ever seen a banana, when handed one by a service man on the troop ship, I had no idea what it was or what to do with it.
My mother had the book 'The white cliffs' and read it often, when she died it became mine. Below are a couple of excerpts from her beloved book.
In a warm summer rain,
Knowing that our happiness
Might never come again;
I, not forgetting,
'Till death us do part',
Was outrageously happy
With death in my heart.
Lovers in peace-time
I have loved England, dearly and deeply,
I had no thought then of husband or lover.
I have loved England, and still as a stranger,
Excerpts from 'The White Cliffs'
My mother came to Canada as a British war bride in 1946.
She proudly became a Canadian citizen in 1970.
Sadly she passed away on December 9th 1976
Visit the Mother's day in heaven
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