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The Immigration Story of Sylvia May Gillis (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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Country of Origin: 
Port of Arrival: 
Date of Arrival: 
April 21 1946
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Story Text: 

This is a story about my grandmother. She met my grandfather [who is from Port Hawkesbury] in a train station in England while he was being transfered to another part of Europe. My grandmother was in the land army and my grandfather built bridges. My grandmother was waiting for the train to the farm where she was working. She saw a young man in a uniform staring at her and she was looking back at him, but looked down at her book when she realized he was looking at her.

When she realized that he was coming over to her she hid her face in her book even further. Grandfather took her book and asked if she always read her books upside down. My grandparents were married on March 31 1945. The minister had to take down all the black cloth from the windows because of lent. She borrowed a dress, she had her sister stand for her it was a fairly big wedding considering that the war was still going on. Grandfather came back to Canada after the war but grandmother didn't leave for Canada until April 14 after receiving a telegram from grandfather asking her to come home.

My grandmother lived a very long and happy life with her husband in Nova Scotia. They were married for 54 years. She passed away on September 12, 1999. She was not well enough to see the War Brides' display but the War Brides group that she was part of told her about it.