The American War Bride Experience

GI Brides of World War II

Frances Spencer
Yakima, Washington

My husband, Ray Spencer, was in the US Navy – the 81st Naval Construction Battalion – the “SeaBees.” He was stationed at Penarth (near Cardiff) in a large house overlooking Penarth Docks, where he worked. They constructed buildings to be used in case of an invasion – emergency hospitals, command posts etc. I believe he came to Penarth from Scotland about September 1943 and left for Falmouth, England, about April 1944 to be prepared for D-Day.

He went out on the second wave of troops and landed at Omaha Beach. (Ray never talked of his time in combat.) I had met Ray Christmas Day 1943. We planned a June wedding but he was in the invasion. We married the following October when he returned.

The Land of Opportunity

My husband came from a poor family but was a very hard worker – we raised 4 children and owned 4 homes and owned our won vending business from 1966-87 until retirement. Our home was on 8 ˝ acres and we had a three-acre vineyard. This is the land of opportunity – I know we’d not have done as well in south Wales.

Family Matters

We made many trips back to Wales and all my family over there come for holidays and love it over here. It has been a great life for me over here. I had a wonderful husband and would have gone anywhere with him – but it was very hard to leave south Wales and my family there. We were a very close family.

We sponsored my sister and husband over here many years ago. They had gone to Australia after the war. They gave us 5 nieces and 2 nephews. I also had a nephew come for a holiday (vacation) and he liked it so much he married and has 8 children –s you can see how much my family has been affected by me marrying an American GI!

Most large towns over here have a GI Bride and wives from all over the British Isles meet once a month and enjoy socializing with each other. You see we now have family in Washington, North Dakota and California all because I married a GI.

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