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G I's & their Brides
During the 1940's, 1950's and 1960's many local girls married the American Servicemen who were stationed at the Chelveston Airbase, with the 'Eighth Airforce'. The men wore 'General Issue' uniforms and became known as GI's. The registers of some of the Rushden Churches bear witness to the numbers of local girls who married them, and then left these shores to start a new life in U.S.A. The servicemen had endeared themselves to the locals with gifts of sweets for children, chocolate and nylons for the girls, and groceries for families which they could get on the base but were in short supply in the local shops.
They also enjoyed themselves at village dances and in the village public houses, and this is how they met the girls.

These two rhymes by R.W.N. are extracted from a book to raise funds for the
Rushden St. John Ambulance Motor Ambulance Appeal published in 1980.

G. I. Brides

Perhaps, within the last three months
You’ve chanced to notice in the press
Accounts of many local girls
Who’ve wed, and changed their home address?
Who’ve said goodbye to Mum and Dad,
Then toddled off down Tidworth way
To face the rigours of the trip
Across the sea to U.S.A.

How different it all will be
To G.I. brides from Rushden, when
They settle down in Idaho
Chicago, Detroit, Memphis (Tenn):
And those across the prairie wild
Midst sunshine in Los Angeles
Will bite their grapefruit, orange, peach,
And sigh to hear some “Rushden-ese”.

New Yorkers watching Broadway lights
Will hear the elevated roar
And think of High Street traffic jams
And total black-out through the war.
And when in summer-time they go
To Coney Island on the spree,
They’ll think of good old Rushden Feast
And happy times that used to be.

But, G.I. brides we shan’t forget
Our local girls in U.S.A.
Perhaps we’ll take a flying trip
And spend a week-end there some day,
You’d be surprised if you should hear
A voice on 42nd Street
*Say “Ennitot? I dawnarf sweat
Shenatter gwout in this ’ere ’eat”.

[*Say “Isn’t it hot? I'm sweating, I won’t have to go
out in this here heat”.]

Memories of the '8th'

Through the early mists of sunrise
Glides a wide-winged, silver bird
'Forst are off again' we murmer
As another plane is heard
Roaring closely o'er the roof tops
With a cataclysmic sound
That assails our shrinking ear-drums
As it shakes the quaking ground.

Gaining height and swift momentum
Scores of war-planes gen the sky,
Casting plumes of feathered vapour
Through ethereal regions high
Then, like brightly coloured rain-drops
Groups of crystal flares we see
Portent of another Fortree
Battering of Germany.

Then when evening sun is crimson
Comes a slowly swelling roar,
As the first returning aircraft
Round the Chelveston widely soar
Slanting sunrays paint the wing spread
As they're banking for decent
And on many a gleaming surface
Shows a jagged gaping rent.

Oft an air-crew, still and crumpled
Proves the enemy has scored
Red lights twinkling in the belly
Warn that wounded are aboard
And these massive, weary war-hawks
Battle-scarred, touch down once more
As another crusade's over
In the war to end all wars.

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