Thursday, 3 November 2016

A War Bride of Ill Repute

Australians rejoice in the outlaw. Ned Kelly, a national icon, and the Kelly Gang are celebrated in literature and music. To have a convict ancestor is to be Australian Royalty.
That was reinforced for me when I contacted Chris Goopy in Australia about war brides. Canadian servicemen marrying European women was only one aspect of the phenomenon as men from many nations travelled overseas in connection with the war.
Australians training under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan in Canada during the Second World War were as liable to meet up with and marry a local as Canadians servicemen stationed in Europe. There weren't as many Australians in Canada, only a few score of marriages according to one newspaper report.
While browsing some of the links Chris sent I was surprised to find an article on the official Australian government website about a First World War bride: Tilly Devine: a war bride of ill repute. I doubt an official Canadian government site would have been so forthcoming.

1 comment:

Crissouli said...

Though way before my time, I was well versed in the stories of Tilly Devine..her reputation spanned generations. Depending on whom was telling the story, she was the worst type of person you would ever meet, or one of the most generous, if she thought you were realy in need. My aunt and uncle talked of her. She occasionally visited their cafe in western Sydney and wasn't beyond paying for meals for those she felt sorry for.
Australians do seem to value their 'characters' for want of a better name..could be that so many of us have links to those who railed against authority pethaps?