23 May 2020

WW2 War Bride Age Anomaly

This is the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the Britannic in Halifax, one of the first ships to bring Canadian serviceman war brides to their new home country after VE-day.
I've previously posted estimates of the number of war bride survivors. I had read that their age distribution has never been published so I made an estimate of median age 25 years on arrival in 1946.

It turns out that some of the outgoing passenger lists for those voyages do give ages. Two ships, the Drottningholm and Stavangerfjord recently came to my attention through a BIFHSGO Facebook post so I extracted the bride's ages.
The distribution is shown in the bar chart, median age 24. Not shown are the 11 in their 40s, 2 in their 50s and one in her 60s.

I do wonder how reliable the stats are? Would these women prefer to be 25 rather than 26 and 29 rather than 30?


Anonymous said...

I would think that their ages were taken from documents proving their identity rather than just asking them. The process for being accepted had a number of checks to be sure they were who they said they were. For reasons unknown to me, they did not travel with their service personnel spouses even though there were service personnel being repatriated among the passengers on the ships carrying war brides.

JDR said...

Spouses didn't travel together for any number of reasons including that the serviceman had volunteered for service in the Pacific which gave them priority return more than their spouse, regiments were returned as a group, brides were too late in their pregnancy to travel, men needed to return first to acquire a home. There are likely many more.