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Newsreel shows ‘A way to a new life’ for war brides

The Story


As the war in Europe winds down, British war brides are making their way to Canada. There's already a lot of curiosity in Canada about the women their fighting men have chosen, and audiences in Canada are getting an early glimpse of them with this newsreel produced by the Canadian army. From points across the United Kingdom the brides board trains that will take them to the ships that will carry them across the sea.

Medium: Television
Program: Canadian Army Newsreel
Broadcast Date: Dec. 9, 1944
Duration: 1:20

Did You know?


• The Canadian news media had several nicknames for the program that carried war brides from their homes overseas to join their husbands. "Operation Daddy" was common, and a Canadian train transporting war brides and their children was dubbed a "Diaper Special."
• The Toronto Daily Star of Feb. 8, 1946, ran a story about one soldier who rode such a train and lived to tell the tale. It said: "He would rather go back into battle than ride another 'Diaper Special.'"

• Statistics from the Department of National Defence on servicemen's marriages show a total of 47,783 marriages and 21,950 births up to December 1946.
• In its annual report of 1947-48, the Immigration Branch of the Department of Mines and Resources said the Canadian government paid for 43,454 war brides and their 20,997 children to come to Canada between 1942 and 1948.

• Though war brides came to Canada throughout the war, the bulk of them arrived between February and October 1946.
• In the fiscal year 1944-45 Canadian immigration officials welcomed 6,442 war brides and their children. For 1945-46 the number was 16,133 and in 1946-47 it was 39,092.

• This clip is not the earliest example of a Canadian Army Newsreel about war brides. In March 1944 Canadian audiences saw a newsreel in which war brides and their small children landed at "a Canadian port." The port was Halifax, but the name of the city was omitted for security reasons.

• Wartime secrecy demanded that war brides who planned to travel to Canada during the war were kept in the dark about exactly when, or from which port, they would sail to Canada. Wives received about 48 hours' notice to pack their bags.
• Most ships bound for Canada departed from Southampton or Liverpool. Crossings took between five and 21 days; the longer journeys were usually due to rough weather or a route chosen to avoid enemy submarines.


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