Tidworth Garrison marked an important period in the town’s military history as they accepted a commemorative plaque to mark the thousands of Second World War brides who passed through the Wiltshire county.
Tidworth Transit Camp on Salisbury Plain was an assembly point for some of the brides who married American servicemen during the war years and it was here they were processed before sailing from Southampton for their new lives in the States.
The American Armed Forces arrived in Tidworth in 1942 and the main bulk left in April 1944 for the south coast in preparation for D-Day.
The plaque presented by the Transatlantic Brides and Parents Association (TBPA), an organisation started in the UK after WW2 by the parents of GI brides, will be placed in the Tidworth Theatre at the hub of the community.
Commander Tidworth, Netheravon and Bulford Garrison Lieutenant Colonel Jamie Balls:
“We will treasure what you have donated, the heritage is important to all of us. We will share the story of the G.I Brides for a long time to come.”
Mrs Irene Cobb a past National President of the TBPA, spoke with Forces Radio BFBS Presenter Adam Powney:
The first 600 ‘high priority’ wives left Southampton on January 26, 1946, onboard S.S Argentina.
Attending on behalf of her great cousin was Sue Quince:
“I was contacted by Dorothy who asked if I would kindly represent her and I’m very honoured to be here for her. I didn’t know much about her story but it’s been a privilege to find out more about the history and her journey.”
Jellalabad Barracks, a former prisoner of war camp, housed the brides who slept in very basic poorly heated dormitories housing 20 to 30 beds and were fed by German and Italian prisoners of war.
The Mayor of Tidworth, Councillor Mark Connolly and Mayor of Ludgershall Councillor Mike Giles represented the local community in marking another chapter in the county’s military history.
Irene Cobb flew over from America to hand over not only the plaque but make a donation on behalf of the now disbanded Association to the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal.