Samuel ‘Brian’ Noakes
Son of an English War Bride
Ile de France
November 23, 1944
My personal memories of leaving my country (England) are those of an eight year old boy who was starting out on a great adventure.
My twice widowed mother had decided to emigrate to Canada after our home had been bombed; the first leg of our journey was a train trip to Glasgow, Scotland, which included a stop-over in London where we saw a Pantomime show, the first of many firsts for me. Upon arrival in Glasgow, we were fed porridge with salt instead of sugar while awaiting to embark on the Isle de France (a hospital ship) for our trip to Canada. I don't remember a great deal about the trip, other than being seasick and wishing that one of the many soldiers I saw was my missing stepfather.
We finally arrived in Halifax, November 23rd, 1944, and eventually boarded a C.N.R. train bound for Vancouver B.C. This was another first for me, spending six days on a train travelling from East coast to West coast; a fabulous adventure for an eight year old and a fond, fond memory for a now 65 year old.
The Noakes family arrived in Vancouver on November 29th, 1944 and were met by my stepfather's family and a reporter from the Vancouver Province who took pictures and wrote the following:
"Memories of war-stricken England, and especially of "Bomb Alley" were revived today by Mrs. J. AshelyPryce, twice a war widow who lived in one of the most heavily-battered areas in Britain. She and her four children were "bombed out". "Bomb Alley" was the fitting and affectionate term applied by residents, many of whom were rendered homeless. One of a party of twelve war brides and seven children to reach their new homes today, Mrs. Ashely-Pryce smiled happily as her youngsters played serenely, and in perfect safety for the first time in years. John Ashely-Pryce, her second husband, R.C.A.S.C., was killed in the first assaults on Sicily. He was the son of Mrs. E Ashely-Pryce, 1251 EastSixty-fourth."
Fifty-six years later I returned to Halifax and reestablished a relationship with Pier 21 and the Hoganson family who befriended me when I served in the R.C.N and was stationed aboard H.M.C.S. Magnificent. Please accept this former immigrant's deep appreciation for the wonderful monument you have created to those of us who entered Canada through Pier 21.