‘I’m here! I’ve made it!’ Canadian war brides reunite in Halifax
Canadian war brides are returning to Halifax 70 years after crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
“I’m from Victoria and we’re here for the war brides anniversary,” Pauline Cohen said. “It’s 70 years since I landed in Canada on the Queen Mary as a little girl with my mom.”
She’s one of several women who share memories of their transatlantic journey from Europe to Halifax during the Second World War.
“I’ve just met another mother who was on the ship with me at the same time and there’s another girl from Victoria who was on the ship at the same time and another girl from Ottawa,” Cohen said.
She believes the event represents “the history of women coming to Canada and saying, ‘you’re not going to scare me. I’m here to meet the love of my life.'”
There’s estimated to be over 45,000 war brides in Canada.
One of them is Betty Tharratt who travelled to the event from London, Ont.
“I was in the Calgary reunion last year and I thought, ‘will I ever make it to Halifax for this year?’ and I’m here! I’ve made it!”
Tharratt joined the navy during the war and married a “very nice Canadian Air Force man.”
There are 28 women registered for the weekend event that includes speeches from the Lt-Gov. of Nova Scotia J.J. Grant and former MP Peter Stoffer.
It’s an opportunity for them to relive memories from their past.
“I was in the Air Force and my husband was in the Canadian Air Force and that’s where we met in 1944,” Marjorie Nation, who arrived in Pier 21 from England in the late 1940s, said.
“Things began to happen and he had to make up his mind very quickly because he was going back to Canada, so he said, ‘shall we get married?'”
Many of the war brides are now in their 80s and 90s, which makes reunions like this one all the more special.
“When you get to our age, you kind of feel very much alone sometimes,” Nanton said. “I’m looking forward to meeting some people and hearing some interesting stories.”
The reunion runs until Victoria Day.
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