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Patricia Belanger nee Burrows

Daughter of an English War Bride
Andes
March 24, 1944

I came to Canada with my mother, Phyllis (Coffill) Burrows on the troop ship, Andes. We embarked from Liverpool on March 16, 1944 arriving in Halifax on March 24, 1944. My father, Cameron Burrows, a native of Chatham, Ontario, joined the Canadian Signal Corps and was posted to England. He met my mother there and they were married in Hammersmith, London on February 16, 1941 - I arrived on December 27, 1941. My father was subsequently wounded in action in Sicily and was transferred into a hospital in North Africa to recuperate.

Although I remember nothing of the trip, my mother tells me that she could not believe all the fresh fruit and bacon and eggs for breakfast having suffered through all the rationing. She told me she was enjoying her first real breakfast in years when I piped up and said "Mummy, I'm going to be sick!" And I was. Apparently, there were many returning troops on the Andes but very few women and children. I always marvel that we even made it to Canada through the North Atlantic with the war still in full swing.

I made my first trip back to England with my mother in 1961 and we spotted a model of the troop ship Andes in a storefront window in Trafalgar Square. Three Christmases ago, through a lot of diligent research, I managed to track down photographs of the Andes and had one blown up and framed for my mother and dad for Christmas. It hangs in a place of honour over their fireplace. She could not believe it when she saw it. My mother was one of the original members of a war brides club formed in Chatham, Ontario. For years, it was a very active group but through time, it disbanded. However, my mother still retains her friendships with those who have not passed away.

I consider it unique to have been a "war child". I am very proud of both my British and Canadian heritage and in fact carry both EEC and Canadian passports.

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