The American War Bride Experience

GI Brides of World War II

Zebulon B. Vance

The Zebulon Vance was a liberty ship, which was prepared for the G.I. much less crowds of GI brides. Quarters were cramped, often jamming eight women into cabins meant for four or six. “The trip lasted a horrible two weeks. Ships like the Queen Mary made it in seven or eight days. Sometimes less. The men in the crew were so dreadful that the purser locked us in our cabins between meals. And then he and other officers escorted us personally to the dining room. The corridors of the ship were piled with trash, the crew and the entire ship was filthy.

To demonstrate the conditions of this ship, I recall reading about the next trip the boat made. It brought back French girls and their babies. Some of the infants died because the ship had not been cleaned and disinfected. On my trip all the babies had dysentery badly. There was only one hot plate to heat bottles for forty infants.”

In April, 1946 Freddy left Belgium. She remembers the boat trip as being horrible, that she and the other women were stuck in the bowels of the old troopship and that seven babies died during the voyage. Later she found out that lead poisoning was the cause of their deaths.

Pgs 132/133 of Bittersweet Decision - The War Brides – 40 years later, by Helene R. Lee.

Read More about the Horror onboard the Vance.

Genevieve (Court) Glass and dau. Irene, May 20, 1946; France > USA

Anna Rodgers and son Michael, 20 May 1946; France > Fredericksburg, Virginia, from granddaughter Nicole

Eliette C. Grafas, 20 May 1946; Aix-en-Provence, France > USA

Audrey Duckworth and son Patrick, Feb. 22, 1946; England > Lancaster, PA

Vera L. (Nelson) Avera and John Gordon Avera, Jr.; 22 Feb. 1946, Cambridge, England > Los Angeles, CA, from niece Mary

Jose Albertin (Boccar) Dube; , Huy, Belgium > Nashua, N.H. from daughter Suzan Morris

Kathleen Bloomstine; Feb. 22, 1946, Grantham, England > California

Joyce Bryan Vonstrahl and daughter Darlene, July 10, 1946; Oldham, Lancs., England > Eureka,California

Maria Lucia (Bersani) Maiello and sons Joseph and Leonardo, Jan. 1947; Vigolo Marchese, Province Picaneza, Italy > Ambler, PA

Erika (Hoffman) Warren, Oct. 12, 1948; Freiracchdorf, Germany > Cleveland, Ohio

Gisela (Buettner) Keyser, ; Berlin, Germany > Los Angeles, California

Jacqueline ( ) Zimmerman, Feb 1947; Brussels, Belgium

Jorgen Nielsen, 1947; Denmark > Los Angeles, California


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