Monday, 9 May 2016

A Living Archive - War Brides - WWII

While researching websites in southern Alberta for unusual digital collections, I happened across this little gem. It's so satisfying to see the museums and archives preserving the stories and memories of their local personalities. (The highlight of this personal story is particularly about WW2 War Brides, but I got a bit distracted and have included resources for those looking for Canadian Soldiers, more information below.)

This interview, which is almost an hour long, is with Dorothy Carleton, originally from Reading, Wiltshire. I found it on the Whyte Museum's website, more information below.

Highway to Jasper © Penny Allen
Fantastic interview (Fireside Chat 2013) with Dorothy Carleton, aged 94 yrs, who was married to Ed Carleton, a Canadian Park Ranger.

Born in London, she lived most of her life in Reading, Wiltshire, Dorothy spent time in the Second World War as an Air Raid Warden. Her employer, the English Forestry Association would not release her from her 'reserved' position, as they were considered as a necessary service for the war. Dorothy was disappointed, as she was was really keen to join the Land Army.

Dorothy was one of 40,000 war brides and describes some of her voyage on the ship as well as the train journey with 'her little bundle of joy' as she calls her first son, Mike. They started married life in Didsbury, Alberta where her husband's family lived in a rural setting and after about a year he applied for a job with Parks Canada as a Park Warden. They moved to the Canadian Rockies where she learned how to adjust to the Canadian winter, backcountry life and cooking on a wood stove. This experience is definitely representative of living a life in the wild, and an adjustment for a girl from England! At one point, her sister and husband came to visit from England, and just couldn't understand how she could stand the "rough and ready life". However, once you live in the mountains for a while, you learn to love it.

Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies
Banff Alberta

Veterans Canada has a fabulous page for researching War Brides that came to Canada.
Canadian War Brides

This website Canada's War Brides provides a List of Provincial War Brides Associations in Canada. It is managed by Melynda Jarrat who has written two books: War Brides and Captured Hearts. There is also a Facebook Group.

This website: Canadian Children of WW2 is no longer active, but there are some links to surnames.

Canadian Soldier in WW2 the latest date on this site is 2001, but the hints on the main page are good reminders of how to look for Canadian soldiers.

CBC Digital Archives (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) has an interesting page about Children Seeking their WW2 fathers.

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