The American War Bride Experience

GI Brides of World War II

June 26, 1946 - Stars and Stripes Newspaper

Bride ‘Meets’ GI’s Mother Over Transatlantic Phone

By Sid Schapiro

LONDON, June 25 – A GI’s bride of three weeks was introduced to her mother-in-law in one of the first three transatlantic telephone calls to be put through soon after the service was resumed between Britain and the U.S. last Saturday.

S. Sgt Erving Grosch, a UK Wis., serving with Co. A 3113th Signal Service Bn. And his wife, Lee, sweated out the call for two days. At the home of the bride’s parents in West Acton, London, the newlyweds heard last Thursday that the transatlantic telephone service would be resumed.

Immediately the young couple dashed to the phone in the foyer.

“Operator, I want to make a transatlantic call ,” said Grosch. The operator informed him the service had been suspended in 1939.

Grosch explained what he had just heard. A check-up with the supervisor enlightened what he had just heard.

Although the lines opened officially at 2 PM Saturday, he placed the call for 8 PM (2 PM in Milwaukee), and immediately sent a stand-by cable to his mother. However, the call went through late.

When the call finally came through, the operator informed Grosch of military censorship, saying: “Warning: Your conversation can be heard by the enemy. Use great discretion.”

“Hello, mom,” Grosch shouted into the mouthpiece, “can you hear me?” The connection was clear. Then he said: “I want you to meet my wife. Here’s Lillian, but all her friends call her Lee.” “Hello, darling,” said Grosch’s mother to her daughter-in-law. “We are looking forward to your arrival here. Your home is all ready.”

The operator chimed when three minutes of actual speaking time elapsed, and the Groschs in London stretched the conversation with the Groschs in Milwaukee another minute for an additional cost of one pound.

Maj. Harold F. Strohson, Garden City, L.I. and Capt. Joseph H. Krug, Chicago, both on leave from the AMG Rhine Provice Detachment in Germany, each placed a transatlantic call at 11 AM Friday for 2 PM the following day.

Krug’s call his home came through first at 2:39 PM. (7:39 AM in Chicago). He was on the phone 14 minutes because of connection difficulty, but was charged five pounds for five minutes’ actuall conversation time.

The major’s call came through at 2:56 PM (8:58 AM in New York). His wife and three children, in the midst of moving to the country for the summer, were usreachable by phone. So Strohson, who was a prosecutor in Nassau County, N.Y. called his secretary to get news of his 11-year old son, Charles, who had been paying ball.

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