Quarantined on the Journey Over to Canada

Being quarantined while travelling to Halifax with her baby was frightening for British war bride Audrey (Hawes) Doyle Ash. Audrey was onboard the Queen Mary when she and Patrick were put into isolation with others.

“We were a day and a half out to sea when a little girl got meningitis,” wrote Audry.

“Myself and my son, with four other mums, one with two children and one with one and one without a child, were quarantined to our cabin for the rest of the journey. It was very small quarters, but we made it work.”

If the war brides as a group had a catch phrase I can’t think of anything better than “making it work”.

“When we arrived in Halifax, we were detained, then taken by ambulance to the woman’s naval hospital and we were kept for one week in case we were infected with the Meningitis.

“My husband was notified and came down to Halifax to see me, but he had to look through screened windows.”

That is a heartbreaking image we have become all too familiar with of late. Very luckily Audrey and Patrick did not get meningitis and after a long week in quarantine they boarded the train and their new Canadian lives began.

“We left the hospital and boarded the train to New Brunswick. Things were very different to what I was used to, but I soon got used to all the new tasks, like carrying wood, washing on a scrub board and carrying water,” recalls Audrey.

“All in all, I was happy, I was with my husband and little boy.

“We came to live at Doyles Brook, NB, where we lived and raised eight children, three girls, son Patrick and two sets of twin boys.”

Well, if Audrey raising eight children and carrying well water isn’t inspirational I don’t know what is. Two sets of twin boys, surely we can keep up our housework and our spirits.

Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 (S2012.2124.1)


Carrie-Ann Smith

Carrie-Ann Smith is the Vice-President of Audience Engagement at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. She joined the Pier 21 Society in the summer of 1998 and has watched the organization evolve from an idea into an interpretive centre, and now a national museum. Though she has occupied several positions at the museum, collecting and sharing stories has always been her favourite thing to do—it still is.