Wednesday 11 July 2012

Have Love, Will Travel

Would you travel half across the world, to be with the man you loved?

The commemorative plaque, on King's Square 
A couple of weeks ago the Vale of Glamorgan had a wartime re-enactment weekend. In particular it was a celebration of the American soldiers who came through the port of Barry on their way to and from the Continent in the final stages of the Second World War. A plaque was unveiled, marking the event.

Last Saturday my mother's younger sister celebrated her ninetieth birthday. They did not spend the day together, because my mother is here in the UK, and my aunt is in the United States. She was one of the young girls, the G.I. Brides, who married one of those American soldiers and followed him across the Atlantic to begin a whole new life. She'd known him eight weeks.

Hundreds of women made the same sea crossing that she did, at a time when trans-Atlantic travel was unusual and expensive, to set up home with a man they barely knew, in an unknown country. There were undoubtedly some, either naive or opportunist, who expected everything to be as it was in the Hollywood movies that brightened the grim days of the war. The majority were ordinary women, who'd met the man of their dreams, who happened to have a different uniform, a different accent, a different nationality.

These days a trip to New York or Las Vegas is something to do over a long weekend - just hop on a plane, and go. Keeping in touch is a matter of lifting the phone, or sending an e-mail. Many of those brides faced the possibility that they would never again see their families, or the place where they grew up. Their parents would grow old without them, friends and siblings would go on with very different lives, the only connection the flimsy blue form of the weekly airmail letter.

They were brave, crazy  - and in love.

That's the spirit that every romance writer wants in her heroine - love beyond reason.

Magic, the stuff of dreams.


  1. Love it! I'm so glad that your aunt remained happy. It would have been awful if it hadn't worked out all those years ago. As you say, once they had gone it was hard to come back!

  2. We forget how 'small' the world is these days with all the means of communication. What brave ladies.


  3. What a wonderful story - and even better that it's true! Thanks for sharing it.

  4. Thanks for commenting, ladies. One of those situations when you ask yourself 'Would I have done that?' I'm really not sure what my answer would have been.