War brides from across Canada travel to Saskatoon for reunion
There were times in the early days when Jean Fells would lie awake at night, thinking of returning home to her native Yorkshire in northern England.
Fells, one of 48,000 war brides who moved to Canada in the wake of the Second World War, had just lost her young son and wanted the comfort of friends and family.
“Those were very hard years,” said Fells.
But those are old memories now.
Today the 85-year old has an active volunteer life and a large family.
“We are very much a family-oriented,” said Fells, who has two daughters, eight grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.
Despite her many family commitments, however, Fells said she still makes time for her community.
This weekend, the Canadian War Brides and Families Corporation will be hosting a war brides reunion at the Delta Bessborough Hotel, an event which Fells helped to organize.
The reunion, the second in two years, will bring approximately 100 war brides and their family members into the city. “We all know we’re getting older so it's good to get together and reminisce.”
As part of the event, the weekend will feature a number of speakers, a dinner, songs by big band musician Glenn Miller as well as jazz sensation Benny Goodman, and a skit of a war bride shower which took place over 60 years ago.
The weekend will harken back to the old days when many of the then young British women met their husbands for the first time at dance halls frequented by Canadian servicemen.
“I met my husband in Blackpool in May of 1943 and we didn’t marry until November of 1945, just before he was going to back to Canada,” said Fells.
Fells’ husband, Bob, who was originally from Girvin, located between Regina and Saskatoon, sailed back on the first Queen Elizabeth ship to Canada in 1945.
“We spent six months apart before I saw him again.”
Fells husband passed away in 2003.