George O’Connell’s English War Bride

Frank’s brother George O’Connell served abroad for 5 years as a supply sergeant in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France, and England. His first stop after basic training was Lester, England, where he was stationed with his 2 best friends from Brockton.

The 3 friends often attended dances together in town and they soon met a trio of English ladies. Pretty soon, things got serious with George and his girlfriend Mary Easingwood, and George’s mother Isabelle received a letter home saying that the 2 were to be married.

This upset Isabelle very much because she didn’t know Mary, and had heard many stories of European girls marrying American soldiers in hopes of receiving insurance money if they were killed in combat. She wrote a letter to Frank, who was also stationed in England at the time, telling him to please find his brother and stop him. 

Frank asked his lieutenant for permission to find his brother and he was denied leave. He knew how important it was to his mother that he go though, so he went AWOL and thumbed his way across the English countryside until he found Lester, and his brother George.

He arrived just in time for the wedding and got to meet Mary and her family before the ceremony. He was only able to stay one day, but spent this time getting to know the Easingwood’s, whom he was very fond of. He particularly liked Mary’s father who took him on a tour of all the local English pubs.

After the wedding, he made his way back to where he was stationed and wrote his mother a letter, reassuring her that Mary was a nice girl from a good family and that their marriage wasn’t a bad idea after all. His lieutenant was upset, but fortunately there were no repercussions.

When the war ended, George was shipped home, and Mary, along with the other “English War Brides”, as they were called at the time, was scheduled to arrive shortly after. However, when the time came to board the ship to America, she got cold feet and returned home to her parents. George received a phone call from Mary’s mother telling him of this, and asking him to “come fetch her”.

George had just returned home from war and was financially unable to make the trip back to England. He spoke to Mary over the phone and persuaded her to come over on the next ship, which she did. Shortly after, George, Frank, and Helen picked up a very seasick Mary from The Queen Mary in New York City.

George and Mary remained happily married for many, many years and both of George’s friends also married their English girlfriends as well.

George and Mary on their wedding day

The happy couple

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