The American War Bride Experience

GI Brides of World War II

How I met my wife in
Merry old England

by Bernard G. Owens

I was a wide eyed stranger to the surroundings when I landed in Glasgow, Scotland on my birthday in 1942. After processing through all the channels I finally ended up on Gen. Eisenhower’s headquarters in September of 1992. Spending most of my time getting used to my new surroundings in the next two of three months I decided to stay out a little late on the 15th of December 1942.

Upon returning to the barracks at 9 Audley Street, I was entering the underground, which by the way during the war was completely covered with thick material so the light could not get out for the Germans to have a target. On going in I ran smack dab into this very beautiful English nurse in her crisp uniform and nearly knocked her down and her first expression was “You’re just like the rest of the Yanks; you don’t know where you’re doing”. After apologizing for about five or ten minutes, I invited her to sit down on a bench in a nearby park and let’s talk it over. She agreed and about an hour and half later she had calmed down and I found out that she was a nurse at Mile End Hospital, which was a good distance from where we were. I hailed a cab and agreed to see her back to the hospital. I left her at the gate as the guard wouldn’t let me inside.

After several days of frantic unanswered phone calls to her at the hospital she finally took my call and I invited her out for Fish and Chips. We spent the evening together very delightfully and agreed to meet again at her pleasure. These visits ended with me asking her to become my wife on the 20th of January 1943. Unexpectedly she said yes and we put in our letter to the American authorities for permission. On the 20th of March we received our permission and were married on the 23d.

We rented an apartment at 23 Cambridge St., London, W1 and had an excellent landlady named Mrs. Dash whose husband was killed in the war already. We were very happy there and our son was born on January 12th, 1944. After several assignments in England, France and Germany I had enough points to come home, however through a friend in personnel in Paris, I was able to get a six month extension back in England and process all the paperwork for her to come to the United States. I came home the last week of March 1946 and proceeded to New York to meet my love.

From the manifest she and our son departed Southampton on 18 April 1946 and landed in New York on 27 April 1946. We proceeded to Texas and my new assignment to Carswell AFB, Ft Worth, Texas. We had a wonderful and full military life with assignments to AFROTC duty, Saudi Arabia and Germany. I finally retired in August 1970 and we lived here in San Antonio for over 40 years.

We were married 65 years when she passed away on April 18th, 2008 at the age of 88, which was the exact date she left Southampton 62 years earlier. We had a loving relationship throughout our life together and neither of us regretted the encounter many years before. I am now 93 years old as of the 24th of this month never regret a single day of loving my English nurse.

Dora Owens and son Michael arrived on the USAT Saturnia

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