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Arthur Thomas Ridgewell

Civilian

Arthur lived with his wife Nellie and their daughter Audrey in Saffron Walden during the war. He worked in the Post Office.

Soon after the war ended his daughter - and only child - Audrey married Robert Paschal, who was serving with the United States Army Air Forces in England.

After his daughter and her husband had set up home in Sanford, North Carolina, Arthur and Nellie went to live out there for a few years with them. They found the heat hard to bear however and when Nellie got sick from the heat they decided it was time to move back to England.

Audrey did return to England a few times over the next decades not least so that her parents could meet their grand-daughter Yolanda, who has fond memories of these trips.

Sent through to the American Air Museum by Yolanda Payne, Audrey and Robert's daughter:

A LOVE STORY

My father met my mother Christmas of 1942. The mayor of Saffron Walden had asked the English mothers to invite American soldiers to share Christmas dinner with local families. My grandparents, Arthur and Nellie Ridgewell, invited three GIs and one of which was my Dad, Gran always joked "Never did I dream one of those Yanks would jitterbug my rug to death and steal my only daughter away". Thus my mom became one of the many war brides of World War II.

My grandparents gave my Dad a key to their home and often would return home to find him napping on their settee. He would sneak rations from the base such as eggs and sugar for Gran's kitchen as she was an excellent cook and supplies were scarce. Dad was a medical assistant to Doc Ballard who was also from North Carolina, and married Doreen Ballard of Saffron Walden. Doreen now lives in Las Vegas, Nevada and would also probably share her story. As Doc’s driver Dad could use the jeep to visit Mom but the jeep always had to be hidden from view.

So in the middle of war came love and romance and dances in the Town Hall and the beginning of our family. Mom arrived in New York on the Queen Mary and travelled by train to Sanford, North Carolina where she was met by family. My Dad was the oldest of eight children so my mom went from an only child to having a very large welcoming family.

My English grand-parents became Dad’s family away from home – a very welcome home for a lonely soldier. They were able to secure a winter coat for my Dad in the cold English climate. Mom’s story was one with a happy ending as many brides were not welcomed. Dad’s family is still very close to Mom. Doreen Ballard married Claude Ballard in Saffron Walden and she would like to be included in your history.

Service

People

  • Gilliam Paschal

    Military | Medic's assistant
    Sent through to the American Air Museum by Yolanda Payne, Audrey and Robert's daughter: ...

  • Audrey Paschal née Ridgewell

    Civilian
    Sent through to the American Air Museum by Yolanda Payne, Audrey and Robert's daughter: ...

  • Nellie Ridgewell

    Civilian
    Nellie lived with her husband Arthur and their daughter Audrey in Saffron Walden during the war. ...

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Events

Event Location Date
Lived in 88 High Street, Saffron Walden, Essex CB10 1EA, UK 1945

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
19 June 2015 17:13:43 Lucy May Created entry with surname, middlename, firstname, nationality, biography, events, person associations and media associations
Sources

Correspondence with Yolanda Payne, Audrey and Robert's daughter.

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