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  • Samantha Alcaraz

Connie DeGray - Shorewood Senior Living

Updated: Dec 2, 2019


Connie DeGray from Shorewood Senior Living

Connie DeGray- Queen Mary WW2

“Actually, I came over to the United States on the Queen Mary. Which not everybody can claim, that’s my claim to fame! I came as a war vet and then because I went back to England to my family. The next time I was called to come here to the United States the Queen Mary was there waiting. I mean just about there waiting for me so because I was assigned to that ship. Oh, that’s an amazing ship. I has a number five state room I guess you should call it but you weren’t below decks when you went on to tour the rooms so I couldn’t revisit my number 5. And the Queen Mary was so fast that all the way during the war, World War II that is, she carried troops and by the time an enemy submarine got to the surface because they couldn’t torpedo anybody from underneath she was way gone and that’s why she was a true ship because nothing could catch that ship. And that’s amazing because she’s so big.”


Connie DeGray - Second Trip on the Queen Mary

“Once there and once back it was amazing. Once to England and then back to the United States; I got the Queen Mary and I was pleased with that. In fact, the mate who you know was talking to anybody that came on, picked me because I was next in line and so he apologized for some crookedness in the ships deck and I said, “You haven’t gotten that fixed yet!” Well, he just about howled because I didn’t know anything about it, but I would just pull his chain on. But we did have an amusing conversation though we did and it was true it was my second trip there.”

Connie DeGray - Serving in WW2

“I was in the Royal Navy. Let’s see, I came out at the very end of the war of course and I got in, but not at the very beginning. I had to volunteer because the British people were conscripting women at seventeen or older. Because you see, that relieved a man to go to the front if he was needed. Well a lot of women were tapped on the shoulder to go because they could relieve a man because I took, as well as others took his place at a desk. I wore on my jacket, two crossed flags because I was in communications. That was my job, to answer the telephones but I did volunteer for the Navy because if I hadn’t volunteered, they were conscripting women at seventeen. I didn’t want to do that, I made my choice and volunteered for the Navy.”


Connie DeGray - My Husband Part 1

“Yeah, I was in the Navy I loved to dance, and he couldn’t. Oh god, bless his heart. He’s expired now but he died a few years ago. I loved to dance because I loved to be held. He was kind of nice about it he followed me, but he was never a dancer. And of course, at that time I liked the guys that I danced with they had little thingies on their shoulder, some said New Zealand some said Australia. A few said South Africa because they had come in to fight because they were part of the British empire and they were young men. They were a little more than boys, but they were young men that came over from their countries and probably I think South Africa, from Australia, but they all had that little tag on them so we would know where they came from. My husband couldn’t dance a step, he was in the army. Of course, he wore a uniform.”

Connie DeGray - My Husband Part 2

“The first time I saw him without his uniform… this person standing on the…I don’t remember if it was railroad station or the dock, I don’t know but this strange person in civilian clothes, I had never seen him out of uniform. His shirt did look different that’s because it didn’t take long to get out of that but it’s funny how much recognition you put into a uniform. That’s all he ever wore, and he was very very nice. He was a staff sergeant and I was in the Navy, so we were a neat couple. I didn’t have children until I came here. When I came over on the Queen Mary there were so many women like me, not any older.”

Connie DeGray- My Children

“I had four, my oldest son is in New Zealand. He went over there, and I think it was sort of a business thing and Michael my son. And after the two boys I had two girls. It’s just so neat and Laurie, she’s just working just outside of Seattle. And Marie… liked New Mexico so she’s my youngest and she’s still in New Mexico which she really likes. She’s working at a company down there. I had two sowing machines because I loved to sow. I used to sow, I didn’t do anything complicated and for myself too, you know, mended. All the mending on my sowing machine. Michael my son has one and Laurie has the other one. Well they’ve got my sowing machines. Funny, I was just thinking about my sowing machine this morning. I don’t know why because I’ve nothing to sow but I was thinking, “God I hope those guys haven’t given those things away. I hope they still have them.” I just passed them on, a machine to Michael and one to Laurie.”

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