"He finally came back to Cornwall, Ontario, and I followed him a month later. I never looked back once I got here."
In England, where I was born obviously, you had to do something in the Second World War unless you were in a reserved occupation. I didn’t want to make munitions and I didn’t want to work on the land; and I really didn’t want to go in the army, so I volunteered for the WRENS [from WRNS, Women’s Royal Naval Service].
Approximately five months later [in May 1942], they called me up. And I had to report to somewhere in North London and the first thing that I saw when I went there was navy time is five minutes before time, a big sign, right across. And there you were supposed to get basic training, how to march and a few other things, but the very next morning, they needed teleprinter operators - that’s teletype - so badly that they sent me to the Royal Naval College in Greenwich for training. I ended up Portsmouth working in a tunnel under Fort Southwick, on one of the hills across from the harbour. And there I pretty well stayed and worked watches. There was a switchboard there, so you had call signs and went through the switchboard when they connected you to wherever you had to send this message.
One coincidence was, in those days, I was a very good Anglican and this particular afternoon, I’d been on duty all afternoon and the big churches in England couldn’t be blacked out because they had these huge stained glass windows. Some of my friends said, "well, why don’t you come to work with us to the Methodist church?" So okay, and that’s where I met my husband; that night. He was a Canadian with The Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders out of Cornwall, Ontario. So I was a war bride.
I happened to be on duty the night when they were going across the [English] Channel on D-Day [for the Allied Normany landings of June 6, 1944] and they told us when we went on watch at midnight that there would be a landing before we left in the morning. And I knew my husband-to-be was in one of those small boats going across. And we had been so, so busy and that night, there was nothing to do. It was all, all the plans had been made and there was nothing to do.
My husband with his regiment had got to Holland after V-E [Victory in Europe, May 8, 1945] Day and we had the wedding set for July the fourth and he couldn’t get out of Holland. But we were married the next day on the fifth, which happened to be the day [British Prime Minister Winston] Churchill was booted out of office. And then he [her husband] came back to Canada, I think it was probably some time, well, he must have been still around in October because I got a leave thing in my scrapbook.
And [he] went to Cornwall, Ontario, and then he was asked to go back to England to do some training for boys work as it was known. It was community work, which he did pretty well all his life. And we were there until 1947; and he finally came back to Cornwall, Ontario, and I followed him a month later. I never looked back once I got here. It was going to be my home. I made up my mind that this was going to be my home; and to this day, if anybody picks up my accent and says, "oh, you’re English," I say, "oh no, I’m Canadian." So you can tell I just love Canada and never looked back once I got here.