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A View of W.W.II in Jamaica

by Genevieve

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Mary Wolfe
Location of story: 
Jamaica and Shropshire
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
30 January 2006

I was in Jamaica under the auspices of the Rockafella Foundation and the Colonial Developement and Welfare set up a public health nurses training centre: but Jamaica was a besieged island. Previous to my arrival in Jamaica in 1940 there had been scares with U-Boats and so forth I believe. Although I didn't hear much about them, but on the other hand, no cruise ships were allowed in, no visitors were coming to Jamaica so from outside was rather sort after company for a bit of variety. Although we had a very sociable time in Jamaica.
Q. Quite quiet was it? Yes,yes.
Q. Did the war come to you in anyway? Not really, my family were not involved in anyway in Canada.
I married while I was in Jamaica to an Englishman who was a serving officer; so that was quite an occasion in Jamaica. I married on the 16th December 1944. I was Thirty-two (32) and we were there until V.E. Day, soon after that, he was an older
man, he came very quickly for demob so we, the Brigadier was very helpful and arranged for him to take as much holiday as he could, as he was allowed. So we went back through Canada and we had quite a wait in New York to get a passage for the two of us because officers were not allowed to take there partners with them, so here was one coming back home with a partner and it took up quite a while to come back. We came back on the Danish, King of Demark's private yacht. It was quite small and it was buffeted around quite a bit.
Q.Was it well equiped? Oh yes,oh yes! very well, it had been kept in harbour in Denmark
throughout the war. If the Germans had wanted it they were told it can't go it has some problems so it hadn't been out of mothballs during the war.
Q. Did you find Britain a contrast? Well of course I did. It was just very different, yes.But I went to live with my in-laws for a while, for about the first year, and we produced our first son.So life was very different, yes.
Q. Did you have rationing in Jamaica? Not that I was aware of.
Q. So you experienced rationing for the first time in Britain? Yes! but it didn't seem, what with being pregnant and all, it didn't hit home all that much. It was there of course but it was very spotty too. When we came up to Shropshire for a holiday,
because my husband had strong connections in Shropshire.
We found that the local grocer was giving away meat tokens because they, their farmers, had plenty of meat and so we could take them back and spend them in Hertfordshire. We did have rationing in Jamaica, food was a bit scarce, yes, but I wasn't housekeeping in Jamaica so it didn't affect me closely. Life was very pleasent in Jamaica that's all.

This story was submitted to the People's War site by Mr.M.J.Greene. of the B.B.C. Radio Shropshire CVS Action Desk and has been added to the site with her permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.

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