A War Bride’s Story

July 6th, 2010 in Archive by 3 Comments

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Lori Brix called our message line some months back to share her mother’s marvelous story. Joan Greenham Showfety was a young woman when she met a young American soldier, stationed in England during World War II. They married, and in 1946, she crossed the Atlantic to join him in North Carolina. She was one of thousands of young women to arrive in the United States aboard the Queen Mary (and a few other ships commissioned by the US Army) to join their new husbands in the United States in the months following the end of the war.

When we wrote her to see if she had any images, she responded with a wonderful collection of images of her mother and documents from the Queen Mary.

Lori’s mother, Joan Greenham Showfety, received this Order from the US Army at her home in England.

A welcome note from the captain of the Queen Mary.

“The newspaper clipping was taken on my mother’s first day in Greensboro, NC–her new home. She said they arrived in Greensboro from New York by train at about 2 in the morning. They went to my father’s brother and sister-in-laws, where they were going to live while they got settled in. Two of her sister-in-laws rustled her out of bed early the next morning to take her shopping. Everything she has on in the picture was purchased by her sister-in-laws so she would have something to wear to church on the following day.”

“Ever since calling in to your hotline, I’ve been reminiscing a lot. It’s amazing how people’s lives turn out–our country has been made up of so many industrious people coming here from all over the world and finding courage in themselves to adapt all while instilling their customs, attitudes and traditions in their offspring… I’m so proud of [my mother] and so grateful to have had such loving parents. I just can’t imagine all they went through in their lives, just like so many other young men and women affected by World War II. She’s had an amazing life experience.”

For more history as well as some great images of World War II war brides, visit www.uswarbrides.com. The site is rich with personal recollections, articles, links, as well as a discussion page that serves to help remake connections that were lost during and after the war.

If you have any stories that relate to the war bride experience, please contact us! You can call our message line: 202-408-9576.

This story was produced by Kitchen Sisters’ intern, Lacy Roberts. She is is a budding radio producer from the Big Sky State of Montana. After graduating from Brown University, she relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work has been heard on YouthCast, a growing handful of quality NPR stations around the country, and her podcast, The Ladies Village Improvement Society. She is now helping out at Kitchen Central with the Hidden World of Girls series and working on some sound projects of her own.

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I enjoyed reading and listening to your comments about WWII War Brides. You wonder, “Where are they now?” Many are members of the WWII War Brides Association and will be at our next reunion. The 2010 WWII War Brides reunion will be in St. Louis, Missouri this coming October 6 – 10 and we hope you will stop by to check out all the fun.

Thank you for adding the link to my website.

Michele Thomas


My mother is a British War Bride. She came to America on the Queen Mary in Spring of 1946 with my brother 6 mos.and myself 18 mos. She was one of the few women who had two children (infants). So she was given a larger cabin which was just down the hall from Winston Churchill’s cabin. He had just left the ship when we boarded. The stewardess took me to his cabin and gave me some fruit from his bowl. She told my mother she should not forget to tell me about this when I was older. We were all violently sea sick for the voyage. We arrived in NYC and were taken to Grand Central where there was an area roped off with chairs for us to sit on.There were news people taking pictures and asking questions. The police were there to watch out for us until we got on the trains. They told the news people to leave us alone as we had just arrived from a long and hard trip. There is so much more to tell. Is there and organization of the children of these British war brides? I would like to know.

Margaret A. Doheny


Lori, I just found this by accident and WOW! how wonderful it is. Your sweet Mother deserves any and all recognition she gets for building a wonderful life in a new country. Coming into all those Showfety’s couldn’t have been easy for her. I cannot even imagine her feelings after traveling so far from home. Bless you for doing this. It will be here forever I hope so that everyone can see my beautiful Aunt Jan and read about her coming to America.

love, Freda

Freda Chesson


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