Sound: war brides in Second World War

At a reunion in New York in about 1987, Roy Murphy interviews New Zealanders who married American servicemen. Listen to a war bride talk about how she was introduced to her future husband.


War bride: He came to my house. I had a brother who, when he saw servicemen that had come back from the islands and they were sick and tired and yellow with malaria and no place to go and looking so forlorn, he’d bring maybe three or four of them home for dinner, for a meal, and they were so happy to be with families you know, after being in the islands. Somehow or another my brother gave a picture of me to one of these boys and he went back to the islands – I think it was to Noumea he went – and he met my [future] husband there. And my husband was going to be shipped to New Zealand – for some reason, I don’t know why, I think it was to go on guard duty – and he said, well I met a family there so I’ll give you the address. And he said, you know, it’s a good place to go for a meal and they were very kind to me, and he says, and this is a picture of the girl that lives there. My husband looked at it and he said, ‘Oh, she looks alright, but she’s got skinny ankles’!

So he and his friend one rainy day had nothing better to do, I guess, so they came up to my house and I wasn’t home and I was at work and my mother let them in and she said, ‘Would you like to stay?’, and they said they were looking for me, they were looking for Joyce. So she said, ‘Well she’ll be home from work soon, would you like to stay for dinner?’, and they stayed for a meal, and that’s how I met him. And he said to his friend, he said, ‘That’s the girl I'm going to marry’. And I didn’t, you know, I liked both of them, they were very nice, but I was engaged at the time to a New Zealand serviceman so I wasn’t, you know, that interested – I wasn’t thinking along those lines at all. And so I didn’t see him again for a couple of months. He told me after he thought it wouldn’t be fair for him to come back because I was engaged and he was, he’d made up his mind that I was the one he wanted to marry and he thought, well all’s fair in love and war, so we started dating and I broke my engagement.

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Marie Swarbrick

Posted: 26 Apr 2022

My mother was a Greek war bride she married my father in Cairo at Cathedral with Soldier’s as hard of honour. my grandfather Albert Matsas managed Mardi camp where she met my father.
They came back on a ship that was had the nick name of the custard ship. My Dad had been injured. I have heaps of photos. This documentary of the war has been great for me as I only know snippets of what my dad told us. He cried every Anzac Day.