Sunday, 13 November 2011

Remembering GI Jim

Another day of remembering and today its my Mum's wartime story I've been thinking about. I've recalled here before her romance with an American GI Jim Campbell, but I don't think I've pictured him. When I inherited my Grandmother's photograph collection I found she had kept a number of photographs of Jim and now I keep them safe.

Mum was only 15 years old in 1939, living with her parents and going to secretarial school in Chester. When war broke out her Dad, my Grandfather, was working at De Havillands Aircraft Factory but was soon moved to the Burtonwood RAF base near Warrington. Then in January 1942 Burtonwood was transferred to the United States Army Airforces and the GIs came to town! By this time Mum was 17 and she and her girlfriends were in great demand by off duty servicemen who virtually took over Warrington town centre. Mum was soon "going steady" with Jim and they became engaged.  They were together for 4 years but eventually Jim left the UK for a base in Germany and Mum realised she was not destined to become a GI bride and didn't want to leave her home and family - in her own words "it was just a wartime romance".

I heard a radio programme this week recalling the experiences of over 70,000 women who sailed across the Atlantic in the 1940s to begin a new life with the American and Canadian husbands they had met and married during the war.  Today there are over a million descendants in America and Canada of the women who followed their hearts and took a leap of faith all those years ago. Funny to think I could have been one of those decendants - but I wouldn't have been me!

Jim did survive the war and returned home to Staten Island, New York.  And he did marry and have a family, so if any one 'over the pond' recognises his face I'd love to hear from you - and so would Mum!


Supplies: Centerpieces Vol 1 digital elements by Joanne Briseboise at Oscraps

2 comments:

  1. Great story, Ann! Thanks so much for sharing it!

    ReplyDelete
  2. TYFS such a great story.
    Linbyx

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for visiting my blog and taking the time to comment - its hugely appreciated. Ann :o)

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