Pictured right: Joan in uniform poses for photo.
Joan Poole Banner was born in Worcester England in 1925. She was the youngest of five children. When she was five years old they were orphaned and sent to the Royal Albert Orphanage in Worcester. Joan lived there for 10 years. At the age of 15 she became a maid in a large private home. Three years later with strong encouragement from a coworker she quit the job and joined the Army.
It was a good decision for Joan. She became a Cooks helper in the camp at Aldershot. It was her first taste of freedom and she enjoyed the camaraderie with the other women. She had fun for the first time in her life. During one pub visit she met her future husband Walter Banner a Canadian who had recently returned from fighting in Germany. They married in December of 1945. Joan had become a War Bride.
In April of 1946, Walter returned to Canada and Joan followed in August. She sailed on the Aquitania to Halifax with a ship full of War Brides. The Women were put on a Brides only train to be taken across Canada. It took Joan 5 days to reach Western Canada. While on the train she purchased her first banana. It was a real treat after all the rationing. She also bought a copy of the Star Weekly magazine which she continued to buy until it went out of print many years later.
Once on Vancouver Island Joan was met by Walter and began the long journey to the tiny community of Shirley, 10 miles past Sooke. After a few years they moved into Sooke and started raising their six children. Sadly Walter died at the age of 36 and Joan raised the children on her own. There were many hard times but always lots of fun and laughter.
Joan will tell you her favourite thing to do is spend time with her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Sadly this has not been a good year for getting together with her family. We are all hoping it will happen soon.
You can help veterans like Joan enjoy the comforts of home and simple pleasures by making a donation today.