TBPA
A British Heritage Society 

History

The history of our association began in April 1946, when a certain young lady joined between forty five and fifty thousand other British girls who left the shores of England to make a new home in the United States of America. Left behind were this young lady’s very downcast parents, who felt they would never see her again.
Mr. Bullivant set out to find other parents with the same concern, and after much correspondence with the local press and inquiring parents, the first meeting of the “GI Brides, Parents and Friends Association” took place in a café in Gloucester on March 8, 1947. During the ensuing year, the association grew rapidly and branches formed throughout the United Kingdom.

Several other groups were in existence at the time, but eventually united into one National body. This unity gave strength to negotiations for group travel rates and so the Federation of Transatlantic Brides and Parents Association was born, later dropping the word Federation.

One of the very early members, whose name is synonymous with TBPA was Mr. A. Kilgour. He was founder of the Catford branch I 1948; them was asked to explore the possibilities of charter travel. In 1949, after much patience and perseverance, Mr. Kilgour obtained a charter plane enabling forty-two members to travel to New York for one hundred pounds sterling, return. Regular fares at that time were in the two hundred pounds sterling range. Since only fifteen applications were received, the flight could not operate. In May 1950, arrangements were made with Icelandic Airlines for thirty-six members to fly to New York, via Iceland and Newfoundland on a DC-4 departing from Norholt, England. Mr. & Mrs. Kilgour were two of the passengers making the sixteen hour flight which marked the turning point in the history of TBPA. Mr. Kilgour was elected Transport Organizer, a position he held for twenty years.

Travel by cargo boat and small groups aboard the Cunard Lines were used in the early days of the association, later being dropped in favor of air travel.

Because of the size of the association, Branches were formed in Areas proving very successful, but bringing with it a need for communication. An association magazine “Together Again” was produced in 1949 and has been in publication ever since with an Editor taking the responsibilities of the position.

tbpa02In the early fifties, as parents enrolled their daughters in the USA and Canada into an Overseas Postal Division, there became a need for an Overseas Secretary in addition to the General Secretary UK and Postal Secretary UK. There were two Presidents early on in the association as well.

In 1966 preparations were made for the US and Canada Division to become self-governing. At the Los Angeles Convention, a National Sub-Committee was selected to begin working on this important step.
In 1968 at the Hartford Convention, with many of the UK Officers present, the US and Canada Division formally came of age with the election of its own National Officers: International President – Mrs. Mae Bamber; National Chairman & Transport Organizer – Jean Gray; General Secretary – Kathleen Holmes; General Treasurer – Vera Redfern; General Postal Secretary – Barbara Mulford; Chairman of Transport – Rhoda (Ball) Book; Transport Organizer – Barbara (McCarthy) Oliver; Area Organizer – Fay Blondo. The “Together Again” continued to be produced and printed in the UK with copies being mailed, in bulk to the new Division.

In 1974 the positions of National President and National Chairman were combined and later the positions of Transport Coordinator/Organizer were combined into one position. Today the officer positions for the organization are: President, General Secretary, General Postal Secretary, General Treasurer and Magazine Editor.

After thirty-five years of caring and working together, the UK Division ceased operations at the conference held in Southport, May 1981. The US/Canada Division continued in their path of service with the hope that the dedication of so many on both sides of the ocean will not have been in vain. This organization has evolved into much more than a travel club. We have brought comfort and companionship to the homesick and we hope a continued pride in our heritage. We are indeed a family!

In giving you these brief details about the early life of our association, many events and names have been omitted in the cause of brevity. Let us not forget those people whose dedication and hard work gave us this unique organization and the many whose continued support gives us hope for the future.

The words inscribed on the gravestone of Mr. & Mrs. Kilgour testifies to the deep love and gratitude so many have for TBPA – “AT LAST, TOGETHER AGAIN”

This brief history of TBPA was taken from an article dated 1981.

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