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Information from Paul Wright, 2017
The Crowe Family

The Crowe Family
Chick & Edna's Golden Wedding

Hayden Dewey Crowe came in to this world in a part of America that was one of the seven slave states, and it became subsequently such an important area in the American civil war, and that we know today as Georgia.

He was born on a Thursday the 20th July1922, his father was James William Crowe, and his mum was Cora W (nee Wright), the Hayden Dewey part was truncated to "Chick".

Some sixteen years after that entrance in to this world "Chick" was joining the American air force after telling them that he was actually older in years than he really was!

The unstinting reason for this was that Chick wanted to provide some much needed extra money for his mum back home.

The first American GI's that came to Podington were in the 28th Troop carrier squadron, they arrived in the summer of 1942. They made the trans Atlantic trip over from the "Westover" army airfield in Massachussetts.

They famously flew many a brave and perilous daylight sortie in the heavily armed B17, the mighty "Flying Fortress" built by Boeing.

She was so successful as a queen of the skies, that in the end just under 13,000 came into production.

B-17 Flying Fortress G-BEDF "Sally B" is the last remaining airworthy B-17 in Europe. She is based in the UK at Duxford, from where she flies regularly at air shows, memorial flypasts, and to commemorative events as a memorial to the USAAF in Europe. Since 1982 Sally B has been operated by Elly Sallingboe of B-17 Preservation with the help of a dedicated team of volunteers and the backing of one of the largest supporters clubs of its kind in the world – the Sally B supporters club.

She was famously seen as one of the five aircraft used in the 1990 film called the "Memphis Belle" and some of the location shots were filmed at Duxford airfield.

204 other GI marriages took place between local girls and their partners from across the pond during and after the Second World War.

But we are going to put the spotlight on one particular couple that trod that sometimes stoney path back in the mists of time to the 1940's to make up the total of 205 couples to tie the knot.

The pretty girl that turned the American's eye was Edna Wright from Wymington, as locals know this is the next village on the way back to Rushden from Podington.

She came from 109 Rushden Road, more or less right in the middle of the terrace, and my dad used to call it "long row".

He was one of Edna'€s three brothers, Herbert was away in the Royal Navy, and was sadly killed on HMS Arethusa, Ron (Ockin) was in the army, as was my father Jack Wright. He was in the forgotten army fighting the Japanese army with the second division of the Royal Artillery in Burma. Dad was a driver/mechanic driving a vehicle that he called a "Quad" - attached on the back was the trusty 25-pounder gun and limber.

It was a chance meeting between Chick and Edna, when she had been out celebrating her 21st birthday with friends. He told Edna's mum that he was going to marry her stunning daughter Edna one day.

With friends
With friends

Edna in Land Army Uniform
Like many a female during the war years she was doing her "dig for victory" effort by being in the land army, and we have included a fetching shot of her wearing her uniform of that period.

During what spare time they got together, they loved dancing away to the big band sounds of the day, and Glenn Miller was guaranteed to get them on to dance floor.

Well he carried out his promise of taking her hand in marriage, and they tied the knot on 10th July1944, at the parish church of St Mary the Virgin in Podington.

The '€˜stork' was making a delivery in Wymington back in 1945, and this was their first of four daughters with the impressive name of "Susanne Victory Crowe".

They continued to live with Edna'€™s parents, Silas and Florence Wright, at 109 Rushden Road in Wymington. Chick was getting fond and attached to living in England and wanted to stay here, but the powers that be in America said he was to return back to the States.

Chick & Edna
Chick & Edna

Edna remained here until she decided to follow Chick, to set up home in America, with young Susanne who was just 9 months old. Chick had gone back, and mum and daughter booked up to sail over the Atlantic Ocean on the majestic sounding Queen Mary in the March of 1946.

So after a fortnight at sea, and some very rough weather in the crossing both Edna and her young daughter were glad to see the back of the "sea-sickness" they had been suffering with for many a nautical mile.

Nowadays the "Queen Mary" is moored more tranquilly and permanently in "Long Beach" California. She is still resplendent with her distinctive three red and black funnels shining in the sunshine; she is a popular tourist attraction serving as a hotel and museum.

A couple of years later the second daughter was coming into the world, and was named "Elizabeth Ann Crowe".

Coralea C Crowe was born in the early 1960's in springtime on 16th March 1962.

There was a gap of some three years before the final member of the female quartet arrived - "Jo Deine Crowe" making her appearance on 12th September 1965.

Chick & Edna
Chick & Edna
Chick and Edna and all of the girls lived happily in California in the Mojave Dessert for some years, before ending up back in the Atlanta area of Georgia.

So after leaving these shores back in 1946 as a young GI bride from Wymington, Edna (nee Wright), had many happy years and times with her husband Chick and all the four girls over on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

Edna and the girls did come back home to "Blighty" for the first time in the 1970's, and had some tearful times with her mum Florence, brothers and sisters and, of course, the numerous cousins too.

Chick passed away first, aged 79, in Cherokee County, Georgia, and his loving wife Edna joined him in 2011, when she was in her late 80's.

The good news is that third daughter Coralea still comes to visit her cousins in Rushden on an annual pilgrimage with her husband Robert, and they normally bring us some "summer sunshine" with them when they come each springtime.

Jack & Grace Wright, his mum (Florence Wright) and his sister Edna at a 1970s re-union

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