Dutch war brides commemorated at Calgary museum
Watch above: A new exhibit at The Military Museums of Calgary commemorates several thousand Dutch women who married their Canadian liberators after the Second World War. David Boushy has the story.
CALGARY – A new exhibit at The Military Museums of Calgary is commemorating the love stories of several thousand Dutch women who married their Canadian liberators after the Second World War.
The exhibit features photos, portraits and silk panels. Calgary artist Beverley Tosh spent nearly 15 years meeting with war brides like Aleyda Campbell, whose family took in Canadian soldiers to make them feel at home.
“We spent that whole last winter of the war practically together,” said Campbell. “Those boys came to our house every night.”
One of those boys was Colin Campbell, a dashing young Canadian.
“Terribly handsome, he had very light blue eyes and dark hair,” said Campbell. “I fell for that like anything.”
Campbell said she wasn’t sure he felt the same until his friend, Monty, “gave it away.”
“’Colin is not a bad chap,’ he said, ‘but he has a terrible thing wrong with him.’ And I said, ‘What’s that?’ Monty said, ‘He’s in love.’ And I wondered who he was in love with – I kept hoping it was me.”
Campbell’s hopes came true and the couple married in Holland. They were eventually re-united in northern Alberta—a common theme, according to Tosh.
“When the Canadians came to liberate, they were very handsome in uniform, young men,” said Tosh. “The women weren’t looking to leave the Netherlands. They were celebrating the change for the better in the lives – they fell in love in the process.”
For Campbell, it was a long a happy marriage. Her Canadian husband, Colin, died 20 years ago—two weeks before the couple’s 50th anniversary.
With files from Erika Tucker
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