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The Immigration Story of Olive H. Ripley (English 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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Olive Helen (Briggs) Ripley was born in Orpington, Kent, England on July 18, 1923. Her parents were Reginald and Lillian Briggs. She has a younger sister, Diana Dilley, still living in England.

In 1944, Olive met a Canadian soldier stationed overseas in Kent waiting to go to France during WWII. In 1945 she married that soldier named Ralston Ripley. Ralston returned to Canada when the war was over and Olive followed with many other warbrides, carried across the Atlantic on the Aquitania.

Arriving at Pier 21 (she was the first one off the ship) and driving to northern Nova Scotia to a small community called River Philip was the start of a new life for Olive - Trees seemed to be everywhere and after growing up on the outskirts of a large city, it truly was a culture shock to arrive in rural Canada.

After the adjustment and pain of leaving her family and friends behind in England, Olive familiarized herself to a new way of life: without shops to visit daily and very few neighbours close by. Ralston and Olive settled on the family farm and raised a family: two daughters and a son who all still live in River Philip as of 2001.

The WALL OF HONOUR brick was purchased as a birthday present for Olive to commemorate her 78th birthday on July 18, 2001 by her family.