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The Immigration Story of Christina Sharpe (Scottish War Bride)

The Museum reviews and accepts donated personal or family memories and histories into its collection. As a learning institution, the accounts help us understand how individuals recollect, interpret, or construct meaning from lived experiences. The stories are not modified by Museum staff. The point of view expressed is that of the author and not that of the Museum.

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Date of Arrival: 
August 1946
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My war bride mother lost her handbag on the Queen Mary while en route to Canada and it was found, and returned to her by, then Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, who was also on board en route to New York. So practically the first Canadian she met was the Prime Minister!

My father, a soldier in the Canadian Signals Corps, was stationed on Citadel Hill in Halifax and he listened anxiously to passenger lists being broadcast, as he was not sure exactly when she would arrive. After a time, because of the extreme housing shortage in post-war Halifax, they moved to barracks inside the Citadel (my brother celebrated his first birthday there). They were among the very last people to actually live in the Citadel before the Army gave it up in the early 50s. Their living quarters were eventually condemned as they were rat-infested and the steep drops made them dangerous for children; they moved to new quarters built in Hammonds' Plains.

Here ends one version of Mrs. Sharpe's story and begins another version.
I am a War Bride, married a Canadian Airman in Edinburgh, Scotland and came to Canada with my son aboard the Queen Mary in August 1946. I came to Picton, Ontario and lived with my husband's family until he purchased a farm of our own. I was a city girl and had no idea what a farm was like. Our daughter was born five years later. We worked very hard and paid for the farm-did anything to make a dollar.

Ten years later we had our second son. He is serving his nineteenth year in the Armed Forces.

I also arrived at Pier 21 after a scary voyage. Someone had not fastened the porthole properly and the water came in and everyone thought the ship was sinking.

After so many years our oldest son took over the farm and my husband went to work for the correctional services. He retired in 1974 and now we live in Picton.

Enclosed is a statement made to the War Brides by the ship's commandant. I trust that this bit of information is of some use.

Lt-Col. W.E. Sutherland OBE.
Ship's Commandant
H.M.T. QUEEN MARY, 31st, August 46


Before you disembark at Halifax I would like to pass on to you my sincere appreciation and that of all the members of the Canadian Permanent Staff, for the pleasant association throughout the voyage and for the fine behaviour of all.

As Canada's Shores draw very near, I am sure there is implanted in your hearts for all time the sincere words of welcome to Canada given to you by the Canadian Prime Minister The Rt. Hon. W.L. MacKenzie King in his speech yesterday. Cherish well his message and may it be an inspiration to you in the days ahead.

Canada welcomes you with a feeling of deep admiration and pride-you of British blood and those of Allied stock who have stood up courageously under all the adversities of war that have struck home to you so severely throughout the past six years. Canada will benefit greatly by this added stock, who are truly representative of the womanhood of Britain, who won the everlasting admiration of all the decent peoples of the world by the magnificent manner in which you conducted yourselves throughout those long dark trying war years.

Canada years ago was founded by many of your hardy pioneering forebeasrers. It is fitting that you British Wives of Canada's Fighting Troops should follow in the footsteps of these sturdy, courageous, ambitious settlers, who by their industry and sterling qualities, founded and developed this Canada of ours which to-day commands a high position of importance among the great Nations of the World.

Arrival in Canada ushers in the dawn of a new day and a new adventure for you all, coupled with great responsibilities which I feel confident you will courageously meet, and prove worthy of the confidence and trust imposed on you by the soldiers, sailors and airmaen who brought such everlasting credit to Canadian Arms.

Yours is a great opportunity. The accomplishments of your husbands in war should be an inspiration for your guidance in assisting them in the reconstruction days of peace. Your solid support and continual support and continual help as their life partners will do much in ensuring a progressive advancement in Canada's national life from one end of the Dominion to the other, by inspiring them with the incentive for goodly accomplishments.

I say to each and every one of you and I express the repeated comment from many of the Civilian passengers on board-you are a solid type of which Canada will be proud. Your children are lovely-an example of the efficient effectiveness the British system has been in the rationing providing for the proper development of the youngsters in these difficult times and during the past few years.

As you spread over the vastness of Canada's nine great Provinces you will be impressed by the magnitude of the country and by the tremendous development that has been achieved, and also at the possibilities yet to be attained through the development of national resources yet untouched.

To one and all I express sincere wishes for your future happiness, prosperity and well being in whatever part of Canada you locate in-from Halifax to Vancouver-may you find contentment in every respect.


W.E. Sutherland, Lt-Col.
Ship's Commandant