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Home > War Bride Stories > Margaret (Elliott) Button

Margaret Button in a Toronto Star newspaper article. Click to see the article.
Margaret Button in a Toronto Daily Star article. Click to read. [.jpg format]
Margaret came to Canada on the Aquitania. Click for larger image.
Margaret (Elliott) Button

Contributed by Larry Button

My mother, maiden name Margaret Mitchell Elliott, was born near Berwick-on-Tweed where both her father and grandfather worked as gamekeepers for Lord Joicey at Ford. Later her family moved to Raby Castle in County Durham where my grandfather was head gamekeeper for Lord Barnard.

She married my father W.O. Tom Button an RCAF pilot on June 2, 1945, in Stranraer, Scotland. My father returned to Canada shortly thereafter in July 1945 however it was not until April 1946 that my mother was able to join him in Canada.

My mother’s recollections are as follows:

"When I received word to leave for Canada I had waited for almost a year, it was still very hush-hush. I well remember the very sad expression on my mother’s face, my father rarely showed his feelings. I went up to see the Elliotts on the Scottish Borders, they too did not like the idea of me leaving Britain, but we parted on good terms. Then good-bye to all my friends at Raby and a final walk in the woods with my dogs - Ben and Jet the black labs, Barney the border terrier, Sandy my yellow lab and Towser the spaniel.

Then the train to London, staying overnight in Park Lane, the next morning another train ride to the port of Southampton. It was a sunny April day, the fields and gardens of southern England were beautiful and green. As we reached the docks the Aquitania looked enormous - we had a great send off. On board was Field Marshall Alexander one of our greatest war heroes who was coming out to Ottawa to be Governor General.

When the pipe bands played "Will Ye No Come Back Again?" and we slowly began to move along the English Channel there were
lots of tears.

It was very interesting to meet girls from all over Britain, many war correspondents and members of the various services all very happy to be returning to Canada. On the last night before reaching Halifax there was a great concert for us, great interest when an iceberg was seen.

There was a wonderful welcome in Halifax, a large contingent of Mounties, military bands and pipers and reporters everywhere.
Thousands of us will always remember Union Station in Toronto - this was where we said goodbye to friends who would continue on to the Prairies and British Columbia.

Before setting off for Hamilton I went to have lunch. Enjoying my soup I was joined by a photographer from the Toronto Star newspaper who took my picture and interviewed me. I was upset at the time as one of the war brides who was supposed to be met by her husband had not been able to find him; when she called his home number he informed her she could go back to Britain as he had met someone else. I found a Red Cross lady to help her as I was on the last leg of my journey. I have often wondered whatever happened to her."

My mother also included this poem on the next page:

Southampton harbour in the Spring
On a sunny April day
The shouts of stevedores pulling ropes
And a liner huge and grey
Some anxious soldiers march and pace
The busy, noisy dock
A sweeping seagull screams farewell -
the echo seems to mock
The liner shifts her great hulk;
sirens sound
A shrill salute to this great ship
on her last voyage bound
Six hundred war brides crowd on deck
to watch the fading shore
The wartime years - "blood sweat and tears"
go deep in memory’s core
White capped water, smoking stacks
the land now ribbon thin
When can we hope to see again
Our country and our kin.

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