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Judith Rothwell Sails Back into the Halifax Harbour

Judith Rothwell was just a toddler when her mother brought her and her brother to Canada to wait out the war in safety. This picture was taken on the first Sunday after they arrived in 1940. Like all evacuees they didn’t think that they would be in Canada for more than six months.Judith’s mother filled her letters to her husband in England with photographs of their growing children. Pier 21’s research department staff were thrilled when Judith wrote to say that she would once again be sailing to Pier 21, and that she would be happy to share the photographs and her story with the museum. Judith and her husband disembarked from the Queen Elizabeth II on the morning of September 24th. She had barely stepped into the shed when tears filled her eyes. “I don’t know why I am crying.” she said, “I haven’t even seen anything yet.”

Staff had a wonderful day with Judith, who well remembered how six months turned into five years. In this photograph we see a very grown up little girl returning to England and the father she and her brother had so desperately missed.

If you are considering a visit to Pier 21 and you have a story or pictures to share about arriving in Halifax or through any of the other Canadian ports please let staff in the research department help plan your visit; they can book a private tour and oral history interview so that your story and pictures become part of the collection as well. E-mail Carrie at to talk about how to make your return to Pier 21 extra special.