Veteran Stories:
Mavis Pauline Jeannette Butlin


  • This picture was taken en route to Halifax by rail, when Mavis went to the 60th anniversary of the War Brides in November 2006.

    Mavis Bultin
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"I got bombed out during the war, I served during the war and I was a war bride. So I’m three things to do with the war. It really changed my life."


We went up to HMS Ariel, [a training establishment] which was near Warrington up in the north [of England] again and we did more training on actual aircraft there and learning about how to fix radios. And actually, it was there that I met the man who was going to be my husband eventually. He’d come from Canada and he’d been with a group but he was sick and he hadn’t stayed with the group. The group had gone on and because he was sick, he was one by himself, so we got to know each other by, he saw me walking across an empty space that I was walking across and I was carrying a hockey stick and I was wearing hockey boots. I was going to play a game of hockey. And he shouted to me, he was quite a long way away and he said, Say, uh say uh, where are you going? I thought this was terrible, you know, a man shouting at me from a long way. And he was an officer too and I was only -- I thought this was awful.

So I sort of pretended I didn’t hear but he caught me up and he said, Where are you going? And I said, Well, isn’t it obvious, I’ve got hockey boots on and a hockey stick, I’m going to play hockey. And he said, Well, do women play hockey? And I said, Of course they do! So he said, Where is it; is it mixed? And I said, Well, yes it is. And I showed him the direction that it was and actually, after a while, he came over but I pretended I didn’t know him. But actually, when we started to play, he got the ball and just flicked it up and got a goal right away. And so the person who was running it said, Oh, you know, you’ve played this before. And he said, Oh no, but it’s just like ice hockey. He was an ice hockey player from Canada and so he, we were covered in mud and we finished up and he asked me out to supper and then we went out ever since and then in the end of the war, I married him. But anyway, that was that part.

Another thing was my husband, Bob, well Robert Brown his name was, was in an aircraft with Foggy, who was an RAF [Royal Air Force] warrant officer and they were supposed to be doing some tests in this aircraft. Well, the aircraft was standing and I was just sort of standing around and my husband, Bob, beckoned me to come over. So I came over and jumped on the wing to see what it was he wanted. And he was showing me something down inside the aircraft; the aircraft aren’t the same now but they’re just an open cockpit here, an open cockpit and then in the front, another open cockpit would be where the pilot was. Anyway, I jumped on the wing and I was looking down into where Bob was sitting and the pilot didn’t realize I’d jumped on it and he revved up, my hair started to fly back and I was sitting between the two back cockpits and we couldn’t get in touch with him because he was way at the front. And he took off and I was still sitting up there. But as he sort of banked around, he felt something was not right and he looked behind in his mirror or something and he saw me sitting there; he had a fit. And so banked down again and back to the airfield and I just jumped off and ran off. I thought at least I was going to get court-martialed but I never heard any more about it.

He went over to Canada and then I followed him in July 1946. And so I’m a war bride as well as being - I got bombed out during the war, I served during the war and I was a war bride. So I’m three things to do with the war. It really changed my life.

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