The American War Bride Experience

GI Brides of World War II

23 Jan. 1946, Stars and Stripes Newspaper

Diapers, Cribs Replace Bunks As Brides Arrive at Tidworth

By Sidney Gans

TIDWORTH – Jan. 22. – Through barracks where an elder generation hid its bottles in foot lockers and barracks bags, a new generation of their sons and daughters squalled their way today – with bottles in full view on window sills. These young Americans ranged upwards from four months, and they were part of the first group of GI families who are being sent from England to the U.S.in the care of the U.S. Army.

Less than an hour after the first trainload of GI brides and children arrived from Waterloo Station in London, they were in complete control. A colonel who probably used to bounce quarters on barracks beds back in his days as a second lieutenant merely smothered a smile when his first inspection of the brides’ quarters revealed a diaper on the barracks floor.

The Army, with tables of equipment which do not include such items as cribs, solved the problem by hastily reconverting footlockers and somehow found them in sufficient different sizes to accommodate the various babies.

All this was a strange picture for this military town, which during six years of war had become accustomed to the sight of thousands of men in uniform. The U.S. First Divs. came through here on its way to D-Day, and later Tidworth became the staging area for the U.S. Eighth, 11th, and 12th Arm. Divs. After VE-Day, Tidworth became a redeployment staging areas.

In all, 458 brides and 175 babies arrived in two trains today. The first train in the morning carried girls from the Greater London area and the afternoon train brought brides from more distant points. The brides will spend the next several days being processed, and are scheduled to sail from Southampton Saturday aboard the Argentina for New York. Other brides will follow on the Queen Mary about Feb. 3.

The brides were non committal about their first Army meal of GI beef stew served on GI trays, but showed enthusiasm when they learned that there would be a mobile PX to serve them with candy and American cigarets which few have been able to enjoy since their husbands left England.

Weary of too few clothes, too little warmth, and a too monotonous British diet, the wives found spokesmen in Mrs. Peggy Stewart. Her husband, a former Air Forces corporal, is a Toledo (Ohio) steel-worker.

“I certainly don’t want to spend the rest of my life in this country,” she asserted. “My husband has told me a lot about American and I am sure I will like it there.” Mrs. Stewart’s parents were killed in the blitz.

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