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The Immigration Story of Vera Brau (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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I have a story to tell. Our ship, Letitia, had a fire, stowaway, engine trouble, storm and fog. There were only four of us women not pregnant or had any children. The others named us the four glamor girls. We didn’t mind.
My journey was one of mixed feelings. My husband sailed for Canada two days before Christmas which upset me. I wanted him to spend Christmas with me but he wouldn’t. So between December and the time of my leaving England I had received only four letters from my husband. I wondered why he didn’t write more. So I made a joke about my trip saying I wasn’t wanted – I was just going for the adventure. When we reached Vancouver on April 9th / 46 there were all kinds of men greeting their wives – so happy until there was just me, the Red Cross and a few other people – reporter was one and a pal named Margaret – one  of the glamor girls and her husband, Bill. They said they would stay with me until they knew I was OK. No one could possibly know what I felt like. I remember it like yesterday. After about one half hour or longer – I’m afraid I have no idea how long it was – my husband walked into the station. I forgot to be mad or upset. I was just so pleased to see him.
Over the years it wasn’t so easy. The in-laws tried to split our marriage, letters from a Dutch woman to my husband whom he had befriended in his long stay in Holland. I could write a long story about my life here in Canada. But I’m certain girls were broken-hearted while others had it just wonderful. We have been married 57 years in June. Now that I am semi-handicapped I couldn’t ask for a better husband. He’s wonderful to me. This is our time – the other women didn’t win.