The American War Bride Experience

GI Brides of World War II

Remembering D-Day

Gilberte Crowell

D-Day is a day that I will always remember as a teenager. My father, who served in the army during WWI knows how much a war can destroy many lives. He wanted his family to be safe, so my younger brother, mother and I evacuated Paris to go to the southern part of France, where my father was born. My oldest brother stayed in Paris with my father. At times we did not know if we would see each other again.

Soon after the occupation of Paris, my father felt that we would be safe again, so he sent for us. Many things happen after that. I remember going to school with a gas mask instead of a lunch pail. The day of my graduation was a bombing raid, we rushed to a basement and waited in terror hoping that we would hear the sound of a siren telling us the bombing was over.

Sunshine was like a nightmare. We knew that it meant more air raids.

I recall on one afternoon when my cousin, Paulette and myself went to a small pond. It was so hot that day, we wanted to go swimming, but we were caught in the middle of a bombing. God was watching over us that day because we could have been killed.

One night we hid 2 American soldiers in out basement, the next day the German soldiers found out about it. We were in big trouble. They came to our house, lined up my father and oldest brother against the wall. They were planning on shooting them. Fortunately, one of the older German soldiers saw how desperate and scared my mother and I were. This soldier called out to the two SS Germans to halt. This older German soldier had a family back home himself. I do not hold any bitterness against the German people. It was war and war is ugly for everyone, unfortunately many people died.

I will never forget the happy look on my father’s face. It was D-Day, the American flag was raised at the courthouse, we were FREE!

At the age of 18, I married a G.I. and came to the United States, but soon after my arrival I wanted to go back home. I missed my family so much. I thought how foolish of me to leave my country, but I firmly believe that God has a plan for each one of us. I probably would not do any thing differently today then what I did 49 years ago. My oldest brother is still alive at 74 yrs. old. He has a health problem, but he still has a “dream”, to come and live in the United States.

Thirteen years ago my husband John past away, in 1981. Today I live one day at a time. I enjoy being with my children and my grandchildren, and I must not forget my little dog ‘Nugett’.

I have many good friends, but most of all, I have my God, who is my best friend, my comfortes and all part of my life.

Gilberte A. Crowell

This was written on June 6, 1994 – 50 years after D-Day, Normandy, France. Gilberte Antoinette Crowell, WWII French War Bride, maiden name Farge was born im 1927 in St. Denis, France. Girberte’s father, Gabriel Farge was an officer in World War I. Gelberte married her American G.I. Sargent John Hugh Crowell on July 4, 1945 in Paris. Gilberte arrived on the S.S. Vulcania, March 21, 1946. If you would like to get in touch with her, please email her at

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