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'We were very happy': Moose Jaw war bride reflects on falling in love with Canadian during WWII
MOOSE JAW -- In 1946, a young English girl was preparing to move overseas to be with her husband, a Canadian soldier who fought in the Second World War.
Margaret Houghton was one of 48,000 women who moved to Canada as war brides after marrying Canadians who were stationed in Europe during the war.
She met Arthur Houghton of Moose Jaw, Sask. in the early days of the war, 1940, near her home in Leatherhead, U.K.
She was 16, he was 19.
“I was just waiting in the park with my friend, and she was waiting for her boyfriend,” Houghton said. “When he came along, Art was with him. When they left it was just me and him, so he said ‘can I take you home?’ and I said ‘sure.’”
She said that from then, they met as often as they could and quickly fell in love.
“He must have liked me, otherwise he wouldn’t keep coming back would he?”
Margaret was a private, stationed in England. Arthur was deployed to mainland Europe. He was part of the 7th Anti-Tank Regiment, which saw action in Italy and helped liberate the Netherlands.
In 1945 he returned to the U.K. and the couple got married. Margaret wore a blue dress she purchased with coupons.
Arthur had to return to Canada the day after their wedding. Margaret joined him the following year with their eldest son, one of 21,000 children who arrived in Canada with war brides.
Margaret said she never looked back, but did get homesick.
“All of a sudden you’re not going to see your family anymore,” she said. “In those days we didn’t have air travel, train or boats. I did go home to England in 1953, and that was the year the Queen was crowned.”
But as for their life in Saskatchewan, Margaret said there was no shortage of love.
“We were very happy,” she said. “I made lots of friends; all my neighbours were war brides too. Time goes by and now they’re gone.”
Arthur, who died in 2013, ran an appliance store on Main Street for many years. The Houghtons' youngest son, Colin, is keeping the family's military tradition alive as a major with the Canadian Armed Forces.
The 95-year-old says she’s lucky to have enjoyed all the years she has.
“I’ve had a very very happy life,” Margaret said.
With files from CTV News Regina’s Taylor Rattray, and CTVNews.ca Writer Ryan Flanagan.