Canadian Becomes a War Bride in Bermuda
October 2, 2016 1:52pm CST
I thought the last war bride I was planned to share was from Jamaica, but this young war bride is actually from Canada, but spent the war years in Bermuda. Phyllis Hartney and U.S. Navy Ensign Ray Ford met in Bermuda. On Phyllis Hartney: She is from Canada, but according to my mother, Phyllis had an accent similar to that of one who comes from West Virginia. Even though Phyllis did not consider herself a war bride, the circumstances that allowed her to meet her husband were due to WWII, so a war bride she was. Phyllis was born in Saskatchewan, Canada. During the war: Phyllis studied nursing in Montreal, Quebec, but at age 21, was too young to serve overseas, so she chose to do civilian nursing in Bermuda. On Bermuda: Phyllis said of Bermuda, "The sky is always blue and the water has a turquoise hue which makes it a most picturesque place. Of course, the temperature is always moderate and there are palms and flowers everywhere." "After I arrived in Bermuda, the ship I had come over on The 'Lady Drake,' was torpedoed by a German submarine. It gave me a queer feeling to see the survivors streaming into our hospital. There were very few casualties, but I was still glad I had not been on it." On her husband: Phyllis met her husband Ray at a party. Ray was a Navy pilot who was part of the scouting squadron on the island, and later, a dive bomber pilot. On the war: "Naturally, we had a good time on the island as it was completely overrun with U.S. Army and Navy personnel, and there were many parties to attend. Because of the atmosphere of the place, very little was thought of the war, and it was more like a big party." "Of course, when one of our friends was reported missing or killed, we came back to earth and realized what was going on." Phyllis said there was absolutely no tourist trade allowed on the island during the war. The only people permitted to enter were those working for the war effort or other war-transients passing through." "One time Churchill came through, and we were all very excited." On the USA: "The big difference between Canada and the USA is the population. Although Canada is bigger than the United States, the state of New York alone has more people in it." Phyllis really did not consider herself of a different nationality since she came from Canada. However, Phyllis told my mother, "I would very much like to meet the other Centralia, Illinois, war brides, however." Note: Although there was little danger during the war regarding the island of Bermuda, there was a constant lookout for submarines. Photo: Mom's newspaper article
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• United States
3 Oct 16
Yes, it was my grandmother who suggested a tea for all the war brides in the area since her daughter, my mom, worked so hard on those interviews. I have the article that has a photo of all the war brides Mom interviewed. Will have to do a post and include that photo.