In the Mood for Love? Remembering Wartime Sweethearts

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner we thought it would be nice to highlight the romantic relationships that formed between American GI’s and the women of Norfolk during WWII.

Did you know that by the end of WWII over 100,000 British women had married American servicemen?

Jean Young and Joe Majors Cut the Cake at their Wedding

Jean Young and Joe Majors Cut the Cake at their Wedding

Couple dancing to an American band

Couple dancing to an American band

Socializing with the local girls was something that many American GI’s looked forward to as it usually coincided with some kind of social event, like a dance. The bases would host a number of dances and other social events and many of the local women were invited to attend.

If a relationship blossomed and marriage followed, many held their ceremonies at local parishes. As the war progressed clothing, as well as food, was rationed. Since no extra clothing rations were available, many British brides borrowed or hired their wedding dress. Also, few brides had wedding cakes, since sugar was heavily rationed.

At the war’s end, many of the local women were prepared to move to America with their new American husbands. In early 1946, as part of ‘Operation War Bride’, the United States Army transported thousands of war brides and children from Britain to America, the first group arriving in February 1946.

A War Brides Guide to the USAGood Housekeeping magazine offered helpful advice to the GI brides leaving British shores to set up home in the United States, in a small pamphlet originally called A Bride’s Guide to the USA. Produced in June 1945 at the request of the US Office of War Information, the guide explained America and the Americans to the newlyweds before they said goodbye to their families and headed to the new life.

To find out more about the American GI’s who found love in England and the GI Brides who crossed the Atlantic for their husbands come check out our selection of WWII love stories at the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library.

Also, to any of our Facebook followers who have wedding pictures of their families–American GI’s and British nationals–please do share.  Add any information that you can. We would love to hear about it. You can find our Facebook page here. Until then, Happy Valentine’s Day to all, may you spend it with whomever you love.

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