World War 2 Stories for Sheffield

                           Joan Musci 

Joan's Story---G.I. Bride

By Actiondesk Sheffield

People in story: Joan Musci (nee Wassell)
Location of story: Blackpool, Leeds, California.
Background to story: Army


 This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Anne Payne of the ‘Action Desk – Sheffield’ Team on behalf of Joan Musci (nee Wassell).

Joan’s Story---G. I. Bride, by Joan Bennett (cousin).

Joan Wassell lived in Blackpool with her family and in 1939 she married an old school mate. They were both 22 years old. He was called up along with most young men of that age. After initial training, he was posted to the bomb disposal unit in Leeds. Joan was pregnant at that time so she went over to Leeds and got “digs” near to her husband’s barracks. When the baby boy was a few weeks old, he got 7 days leave and they went home to Blackpool. Joan decided to stay one more week with her family. She sent him a telegram to say what time she would arrive in Leeds so that he could arrange to meet her. When she got there, an officer was waiting for her and told her that her husband had been practically blown to pieces as he was attempting to deal with a bomb that had been dropped by the Germans, presumably on the way to Sheffield. There was a Red Cross lady with the officers and they were both very kind and helpful. They made all the arrangements for the funeral and for her and the baby to return to Blackpool.

She got herself a job and her mother looked after the baby. At that time the Americans were arriving in great numbers and they were in a camp between Blackpool and Lancaster, so of course, when they were off duty they could be found in Blackpool. Joan’s father worked at the tower and he often brought a couple of G.I.’s home for a cup of tea. Eventually, Joan’s story had a happy ending as she fell in love with one of the G.I.’s, and they were married in the spring of 1945. When the G.I.’s went home, their British wives followed in another boat, but if they were pregnant, they had to stay here until the baby was born, so Joan couldn’t sail until their baby was born and 10 or 12 weeks old. She left her first son at home with her parents because he had just started school, and of course she wanted to be sure she was going to like life in the U.S.A. She obviously did because they are still there and she is now a fully fledged American citizen and still very happy.