ANDERSON, Ind.-- It’s estimated 100,000 war brides from the United Kingdom came to the U.S. to live after WWII. One of them recently shared her story with CBS4.
June Allen, nearly 90 years old, was born in Wales and lived in England when she met a dashing American GI by the name of Arnie Boots, a military policeman for the U.S.
“I went to a dance with a girlfriend of mine and he was on duty at the dance. She already knew him and she introduced me to him, and his last name was boots,” recalled Allen.
Allen and Boots clicked. They started seeing one another and one thing led to another.
“We went together for a few months and then he had to go to southern England to get ready for D-Day because D-Day was getting pretty close. He asked me to marry him. I said no, I was only 16. But finally we decided to get married,” she said.
Boots went off to Europe to fight in France and Germany. Allen didn’t see him for nearly two years after they were married. When the war officially ended in Sept. 1945, Boots was shipped back to the U.S. It wasn’t until June 1946 that Allen made her way to the United States with other war brides on the ship, the Queen Mary.
Allen reunited with Boots, settled in Kentucky for a time and then moved to Anderson, Indiana.
"There had been a tornado somewhere around this area and he said there’s all kinds of work around Anderson. I was pregnant with my youngest son. So he went up to Anderson first, and I followed several weeks later, after my son was born,” she recalled.
She found friends in Anderson and formed a club with other war brides. Her English accent made her stand out in Indiana, so to be less conspicuous, she learned to speak with an American accent.
“Americans roll their words, so I started rolling my words and talking with an American accent,” she said.
She raised her family in Anderson. Boots passed away a number of years ago and she remarried.
Now a widow for the second time, Allen repeats her war bride stories as part of the history of the Queen Mary, the dazzling ship that brought GIs to the war and ferried war brides like Allen to the shores of the United States.
Does she have any regrets? Not many, she said. She just wants to continue visiting the Queen Mary to keep the history alive for generations to come.