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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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Overpaid, Oversexed and Over Here

by margaret marriott

Contributed by 
margaret marriott
People in story: 
Jean Radway; Floyd Stewart; Isabel Stewart;
Location of story: 
Malborough Road, Broome Manor Lane, Coate Water, Chiseldon, Swindon, Wiltshire
Background to story: 
Civilian Force
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
05 December 2004

Location: Swindon, Wilts. Marlborough Road, Broome Manor Lane, Coate Water, Chiseldon.

Mrs Jean Mountney (nee Radway) writes:

While I was in the Land Army the build up of American troops for the invasion of Europe was in full swing. We land girls went to local dances in pubs and village halls and often met up with the American forces. One of the land girls, Alice, was always getting presents from the GIs, stockings, chocolate etc, and she also ended up with a present she hadn’t bargained on: twins! She eventually got married to one of the men who worked in the milking bail.

I had a rather frightening experience with GIs when I was cycling along Marlborough Road back to my billet in the dark one evening after my midweek afternoon off. I must have been 18 or 19 years old then. A lorry driven by an American stopped me at the Marlborough Road/ Broome Manor Lane junction. There were at least three soldiers in the front and the driver asked me the way to Marlborough. "Straight on," I told him, and then he suddenly jumped out of the cab and grabbed me by both wrists. I told him to let go of me and held on tightly to my bicycle. I heard one of the driver’s companions say in his American drawl: "Aw, let her go." Just then another cyclist came past on the other side of the road and the GI let go of me. I doubled back behind the truck and crossed over to Broome Manor Lane, pedalling as hard as I could, but then I heard the truck turning round, and it came after me down the lane. I rode like mad on the path, got through the garden gate of my billet, and sat down in the kitchen, shaking like a leaf. I could hear the lorry driving on down the lane, heading for Hodson.

When I told my family, my elder brother said I should have reported the incident to the police. I never did.

Then there was the time when I went to a dance at the British Legion Hall in Chiseldon. The spotty American I was dancing with was, to put it politely, over-zealous in his dancing, the MC spotted him and we nearly got thrown out. I never went to another dance there, I was so embarrassed.

But there were decent Americans around. I used to go down to Coate Water to write a letter to my older brother, Reg, out in India, and I met a GI called Floyd Stewart who was down there writing to his family and fiancée. It was getting close to D-Day and he was worried about having to shoot at women in France; there was a rumour going round that the Germans were using female snipers.

There was one occasion when I had gone down to Coate Water to meet Floyd, but he was late and another GI came and sat by me, becoming rather overfriendly. When Floyd turned up he told me: "be careful of him; he’s one of the wolves". Floyd put me in touch with his sister, Isabel, and we corresponded for a number of years. I lost touch with her when she moved from their home town to the Great Lakes.

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