Life During the War:

Joan Howle was born in Birmingham England on 10 November 1920. She joined the Women’s Land Army in Worcester in February 1941, having been a shorthand typist at an insurance company. The land where Joan worked as a Land Girl was owned by the Worcestershire County Council and had been an Experimental Station for the growing of fruit and vegetables; during the War production was intensified.

During this time she met Augustus (Gus) Michael Fogarty, an Australian Flight Lieutenant (Flt.Lt.) flying instructor in the air force (he had been a school teacher in Australia). Perdiswell Airfield, where Gus was based, was opposite the agricultural station, on the main road to Birmingham. It was used for the training of pilots on Tigermoths. Joan and Gus crossed paths on their bicycles. They met formerly at a dance in Worcester and on 15 July 1944, the couple married. They both continued working until Jean gave birth to their first child Patricia on 13 May 1945.

Coming to Australia:

Gus, originally from Warnambool, returned to Melbourne in November 1945 and rented two rooms in Carlysle Street, Moonee Ponds. In July 1946 Joan and daughter Patricia travelled on the war bride ship the Arcadia carrying around 400 British war brides to Australian husbands. The British Government had offered much assistance to Joan, even arranging for two other wives from Midland towns to visit her at her mother's house in Birmingham where she was living, so that the young women would know someone on the voyage. The women were supplied with vouchers for train and taxi fares and Joan incurred no costs at all for the relocation. Joan recalls washing nappies every day as the ship had not been altered since its days as a hospital ship. She slept on a bed with her baby's cradle hooked on the side, with two other beds in the ‘ward’ with canvas walls.

Gus met Joan at the Pier and then a Red Cross worker drove them to Moonee Ponds. In January 1948 they purchased a house in Regent and their son Keith was born in 1949. Gus continued teaching and Joan raised the family and managed the household. Joan returned to England for a time in the 1970s and then returned to Australia.

War Brides:

As a result of Australian involvement in various wars over the last century, there were a number of marriages among Australian servicemen and women from countries where they were serving. Many of the women the servicemen married migrated to Australia. Moreover significant number of Australian women married United States and British servicemen stationed in Australia and migrated to their countries after World War II; the Repatriation Commission authorising free passage to Australia for servicemen’s wives, fiancées and children.

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