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GI Brides Speak

Discussion in 'WWII Today' started by GRW, Oct 6, 2013.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Still sad, no matter how many times you hear the stories.
    "When Margaret Boyle took an American to be her husband in 1943, she was one of 70,000 British wartime women won over by their wealth and charm.
    With their pay five times that of a British Tommy, and all the glamour of Hollywood around them, the servicemen proved irresistible to the many young ladies who became GI Brides.
    They were offered free passage by the U.S. Army to start a new life on the other side of the Atlantic.
    But many found the American dream was not what they expected as the reality of life in the States set in once their husbands were out of uniform.


    The brides, who endured shocking treatment at the hands of U.S. officials before their journeys over, found themselves accused of 'stealing' the men in the hometowns they came to, and often discovered the truth about their husbands, some of whom were cheating on them even as they sailed over.

    Their plight, which is only now beginning to emerge as the women involved approach old age, has been documented in a new book, GI Brides, by Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi – whose grandmother was a bride herself.
    Margaret, the daughter of a British Army Major, was working as a typist for the US Army in London when she met her husband-to-be, Captain Lawrence Rambo, on Christmas Day 1942.
    Lonely and on the rebound from a relationship with another American soldier, Margaret was drawn in by Lawrence's easy Southern drawl, impeccable manners and love of literature.
    His family were land-owners in Georgia, and Margaret, already pregnant, dreamed of a world over the sea filled with the glamour of Gone With The Wind.
    But by 1946 she was fleeing back across the Atlantic, with two children in tow and a third on the way after the comprehensive collapse of her life abroad.
    She had been forced to leave after a combination of drink and dishonesty had eaten away at their hopeful marriage.
    The problems had began even before he left Britain, when it emerged that Lawrence had a habit of leaving bills unpaid.
    The rent on his London flat, as well as tabs at a string of restaurants, had not been settled before he left the country.
    And unlike many, he was not sent home clothed in glory, but discharged after he had been caught stealing from the Red Cross.
    He had abused the organisation's service of cashing cheques for servicemen by claiming from them despite having nothing in his account.
    He was court marshaled and sent home after his lies caught up with him, and went back with a personal condemnation from General Eisenhower ringing in his ears, and his wife soon to follow.
    The young couple moved around the southern countryside as Lawrence picked up jobs and repeatedly lost them due to his bad timekeeping and drunkenness at work.
    He left Margaret with nothing to live on, and she became so desperate that she was forced to pick her husband's pocket after he had passed out just to have enough money to feed his young children."
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2444157/The-REAL-story-GI-brides-How-British-wartime-girls-married-dashing-US-soldiers-start-new-life-America--men-drunks-womanisers-thieves.html#ixzz2gzTA4MOE
     
  2. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    An interesting article, Gordon, but it seems very anecdotal. I wonder what the comparison would be if you counted successful versus unsuccessful marriages. Would it be any higher than America's divorce rate? Something to ponder.
     
  3. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Very true, that seems to be generally overlooked, Lou.
     
  4. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Of course, I have no direct way of checking, but it's something to look into.
     
  5. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    One of the girlfriends of my vagrant yoot was the product of such a marriage. The Mom was a very charming woman who'd occasionally let hints drop that she had a "past" in wartime London. I suppose most women in Europe were a bit loose compared to pre-war standards. She said one time that her parents were relieved she'd married a Yank because she'd spent so much time in Tottenham Court "with those Irish." I don't know what Irish were inhabiting or drinking on Tottenham Court Road back then, but they were apparently hell on London girls, and a Yank was a good alternative.
     
  6. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    One of the biggest things...forgotten by many but installed in our blood are the GI brides....They have infected and joined our two nations...The link is there..it won't ever go away..
     
  7. DaveBj

    DaveBj Member

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    Something to ponder, indeed. The thing is that the stories that come out of the unsuccessful marriages are more . . . let's say, interesting (maybe salacious?) than the stories that come out of the successful ones.

    At the rural Alabama church where I was music minister for a while, there was a guy who had married and brought back a German bride (this was 1960s, not immediately post-war). I saw her just a week ago, when I went back there to play my horn in a music program. She's still a sweet old lady who has a very interesting accent, a combination of German and southern.



    DaveBj
     
  8. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    I was thinking the same thing, Lou. I can remember a good handful of British women in my hometown who married American GIs, came back to the States with them, and by all appearances lived good, pleasant lives. I have a friend from high school whose mother was English (the child was born a bit later in life). I am quite certain that Mr. Brock was most definitely a womanizing boozer by even the loosest of definitions.

    Mr. Marion's brother married a British war bride. I mentioned them both in the book.

    I used to work with a German woman to whom that happened. I'll have to tell her story here sometimes, it was an exciting cold-war anecdote and her second marriage was to a good man, who took good care of her.

    I am quite certain that many British women married themselves into a difficult marriage, just as many American women did here in the States. However, I don't see it as the norm.
     
  9. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Both Jeff and Dave make good points, but again they are anecdotal. I think Dave is correct in saying that unsuccessful marriages have more salabity than successful ones. Oh well, anything to make a buck.
     

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