Sound: meeting US troops

Hear Ena Ryan talk about meeting US troops marching and the lack of local support for them in Wellington.


I can remember Christmas Day that year [1942], and my father and I went for a walk down Glenmore St and across Anderson’s Park and up round, you know, past the observatory. And when we got to Glenmore St we ran into about 700 Americans marching at ease, coming up Glenmore St. They were from a troopship in the harbour apparently and they’d been sent out to get a bit of exercise, I presume while their cooks cooked Christmas dinner. As soon as they saw us they started, they cheered, they wolf-whistled, they said [false American accent] ‘Hello [parb?]’, and ‘Hello honey, gee you look nice, I wish I knew you, oh I wish I knew you!’ Well when you’ve got to go past 700 men all wishing they knew you it is a bit of a strain – I was very glad to see the last of them. My father said ‘Good luck boys, good luck boys’ all the way along, but I said nothing at all, I didn’t want to start another burst and I was very glad to see the last of them really. And we went across Anderson’s Park, up past the observatory, up Upland Rd and oh my goodness what did we meet when we got by Grove Rd, but the same 700 coming round! They’d come up around the viaduct, you see, and they were making their way, going to make their way, down Glasgow St to their ship, and as soon as they saw us the whole 700 cheered, and they started off again, ‘Oh, gee honey you look nice, I wish I knew you’.

Well, you know, it was Christmas Day. There wasn't a soul on Upland Rd. I just don’t understand New Zealanders sometimes. Wouldn’t you have thought that somebody could have come out and said, ‘Good luck boys, we’re glad to see you, thanks for coming’, or even a ‘Merry Christmas’, but not a soul appeared and they disappeared down Glasgow St back to their ship. We’re a funny crowd.

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