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Two Sisters Remember American D-Day Troops in Dorset
Marjorie (91) and Georgina (94) remember US Troops in Britain 75 years after D-Day
As the UK and US marked the 75th anniversary of D-Day this week, some UK residents have been looking back to the 1940s and remembering their own personal experiences of the 'Friendly' invasion. Sisters in the Budden family, 91 year old Marjorie Gover and 94 year old Georgina Hutchings from Hamworthy, Dorset, remember the US preperations for D-Day as though they were yesterday.
A large contingent of US troops were based in Dorset, particularly in Hamworthy and the port of Poole. Marjorie recalls visiting the Dorset town of Blandford to a dance hall ... "Ena and I would go to the dances, I wore red and she wore blue - I was only small, 4ft 10in, so they made me dance with the tallest fella! ... The Americans thought this was very funny indeed". She also recalls how she and her brother, Robert Budden (now 86), were given Hershey bars and chewing gum as treats by the US troops.
The sisters also remember the kindness of American troops, who gave the Budden family additional tins of Spam, at a time when rationing meant being caught in possession of tinned meat would have had severe consequences. Their father, George, would bury empty tins in the family garden to avoid discovery - 30 years later the rusted tins were discovered during gardening!
Because of the secrecy of the D-Day preparations, American soldiers as young as 18 were not allowed to write home to their worrying families. This was another good deed undertaken by the sister's mother Hilda. One of these soldiers, Carl Dahlgren from Philadelphia, even later returned to Hamworthy in 1972, and found his way back to the Budden household - the pleasant surprise led to many Transatlantic journies for both him and the Buddens.
Marjorie was once even engaged to a soldier from West Virginia. She recalled that "Jack Burford and I were engaged, but it didn’t last long, I did still write to him after the war". Marjorie still receives letters from American families seeking more information about their loved ones who were stationed in Dorset during the war.
The Buddens joined family and friends for a street party to celebrate VE Day in 1945, but their memories of the times leading up to D-Day, and the American troops stationed in Dorset, stand out. We thank Marjorie and Georgina for remembering the US Troops who made the UK their home during World War II, and embarked upon that most important of missions in 1944.