Thursday, January 20, 2011

Elizabeth Kennedy, British War Bride

Left to right are: Miss Anne Jessyn, Women's Royal Naval Service (WRNS); Sergeant Joseph Brescia, US Army 13th Major Port; Master Sergeant George F. Kennedy, 13th Major Port, Elizabeth Mary (Brown) Kennedy, WRNS; Jack Brown, British Army; and Miss Sheila Brown. The wedding took place in Dumfries, Scotland, 24 April, 1945.

Richard Kennedy found my blog recently and sent me an email. His dad, George, had served in the 13th Major Port. George married a Scottish girl who was serving in the Women's Royal Naval Service. Richard tells the charming story:

"My parents met in Plymouth late in '43 or early '44. Mom was assigned to HMS Drake, which is not a ship but the Royal Naval base at Plymouth. At the time, Mom was seeing another GI, a friend of my dad's. They were all attending a hop that night, I think. Mom said the first thing Dad said to her when they were introduced was 'Hiya, Jackson! Whadda ya hear from the mob?' One can take the boy out of Brooklyn, but... A few nights later, Dad's buddy was going to stand my mother up on a movie date, and when he told my dad that, Dad said 'The young lady expects to see a movie. If you're not going to take her, I will' And so he did. The buddy never got a second shot.
In April of '45, They were married in St Michaels Kirk, Dumfries, Scotland, to the great pleasure of my grandparents on both sides of the ocean. Mom said they had the first real wedding cake that had been baked in the town since before the war, because my Grandmother had been hoarding her sugar ration for months in anticipation. a week's leave for the wedding trip and they were both back on duty, she in Plymouth, he back in Antwerp for another year or so. Mom separated from service in July '45 and sailed for the States in September."

Richard stressed that his mom considered herself a "War Bride" and not the common term "GI Bride," adding "That expression used to really aggravate her."

Glenn Booker researches the history of war brides during WWII. Check out the website The American War Bride Experience for articles, photos, and books on the subject.


  1. Typically when war brides are mentioned (here in the UK at least) we only hear the negative examples; broaken marriages, abandoned brides etc. But that wasn't the norm and its good to hear a story with a happy ending for a change.

  2. That's interesting. It seems the British media prefers negative stories about the Yanks luring away UK women, while the Americans highlight the happy upbeat stories. I imagine the rates of unhappy marriages were the same for war brides as they were for any other American couples.


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