Military Monday: Canadian War Brides to New Zealand and Australia

Canadian War Brides destined for New Zealand

According to one source, 3,750 Canadian women married airmen from outside Canada — Australia, New Zealand as well as the UK and elsewhere, while with the WW2 British Commonwealth Air Training Plan in Canada.

Based on the total number of airmen who graduated from the Plan, and their national air force affiliations, a rough estimate of the number of Canadian brides is 2,700 to RAF personnel, 600 to RAAF and 450 to RNZAF. There must be large error bars on those estimates, especially for RAAF and RNZAF, as there were many RAF personnel who stayed in Canada for extended periods as part of the training establishments.

For New Zealand, “about 3700 women from 37 countries, including Canada, Italy and Palestine followed their husbands and fiances to New Zealand.” that’s according to

Searching New Zealand’s Papers Past  yielded several mentions.

30 June 1943 — over 70 NZ airmen have married Canadians
12 July 1944 — first group of Canadian war brides arrives in NZ
19 Nov 1945 — Canadian war brides arrive in New Zealand

No totals were found for Australia. The NLA Trove database yielded:

28 April 1944 — 2 Canadian war brides reached Australia
28 June 1944 — large party of war brides” arrived in Sydney
26 June 1945 — Thirty-nine Canadian war brides and 12 children of Australian airmen will arrive in Sydney shortly.
7 August 1945: 39 Canadian brides and 12 children arrived in Sydney about a month ago. Hitherto only about 20 Canadian war brides had arrived in Australia. An estimated 200 are still in Canada.
15 August 1945: 39 brides from every province of Canada and 12 children arrive in Sydney
August 1945 — It is estimated that 200 brides still in Canada await passage to Australia,.”
24 Sept 1945: 10 Toronto girls (wives) travelling to San Francisco where they will be part of a party of 142 brides and 25 babies travelling on the S S Matonia.
3 October 1945: 80 Canadian brides of Australia airmen arrive in Vancouver to proceed via San Francisco.
4 October 1945 —  One hundred and ninety-four Canadian wives of Australian airmen have arrived here on their way to Australia. Thirty husbands accompanied the group, 90 more met their wives here. Several of the group are widows. One bride is taking her mother to Australia. Thirty have babies.
Group will sail on Friday.
7 March 1946 — approximately 120 Canadian wives, fiancees, widows and children of Australian servicemen will sail by the Monterey from San Francisco on March 15. The women come from all provinces, but the majority are from the prairies.
24 May 1946 — Ship Monteray arrive Sydney with 18 Canadian wives and fiancees

Canadian newspapers have numerous reports of marriages to Australians and New Zealander’s as well as British airmen.

One Reply to “Military Monday: Canadian War Brides to New Zealand and Australia”

  1. A friend of mine is the daughter of a New Zealander man and South African woman who met during the war and stayed in Canada where he served in the RCAF until the late 1960s. When the wife died, they family, including the Canadian born children returned to New Zealand.

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