WWII Vet Escorts British Bride and Son to Furnished New Home

The feature story below was written by my grandfather, Carl F. Hanneman, and published in The Wisconsin State Journal on February 21, 1946. It relates the tale of a U.S. army medic, his British bride and baby, who were separated from him for more than six months at the end of World War II. Below the story I provide some more detail on Charles D. Grinolds and his World War II service.

Mauston Vet Escorts British Bride and Son
Into New Home Replete Even to Food on Table

By Carl F. Hanneman
State Journal Correspondent

MAUSTON — Thrilled with a surprise house, new and completely furnished, Mrs. Charles Grinolds, Ashwell, England, has joined her husband here and introduced him to his son, Charles Victor, who was born after his staff sergeant father left England last July.

The Wisconsin State Journal story featured the happily reunited Grinolds family.
The Wisconsin State Journal story featured the happily reunited Grinolds family.

When Mrs. Grinolds entered her new home at 4 a.m. Tuesday she found it furnished even to pictures and books, but in the basement were 187 quarts of fruit, 30 quarts of canned chicken, and other canned goods.

On the table in the modernistic kitchen was a large angel food cake with the inscription, “Welcome,” while the percolator was sputtering its tune upon a recently installed new electric range.

It all climaxed a separation which began early last July, when Grinolds left England just before his son was born. The long wait ended happily , too, for Charles Victor, Jr., was no worse off from the long, tedious journey, and laughed and cooed in his father’s arms as father and son inspected the comforts of their five-room bungalow.

The mother, the former Margaret Eley, although totally exhausted, prepared the baby’s formula before tucking him into his new little bed.

Charles, Margaret and baby Charles Victor Grinolds enter their new home at Mauston in 1946.
Charles, Margaret and baby Charles Victor Grinolds enter their new home at Mauston in 1946.

The couple was married in St. Mary’s church in Ashwell, the first Anglo-American wedding in the community during the war. The father served overseas for 33 months, then had to leave before his son was born.

Mrs. Grinolds left England on the American “Santa Paula,” formerly a hospital ship, and was on the water 11 days, arriving in New York last weekend four days overdue because of storms. She was confined to her quarters by seasickness for three days, but the baby appeared to enjoy the trip.

The sight of land, any land, was a great thrill after the rough voyage during which seas rolled over the decks. Upon leaving the ship in New York, the war brides and babies were taken on a sightseeing tour to acquaint the new Americans with their adopted land.

Grinolds, recently discharged, was waiting anxiously in a Chicago railroad station when his family arrived. His wife, who was not expecting her husband in Chicago and had never seen him in civilian clothes, was following a military police assigned to her and became frightened when her husband came up from behind and took the baby from her arms.

But then she was home. ♦


Richard Dockstader Grinolds was drafted into the U.S. Army in February 1942 at Fort Sheridan, Illinois. He became a staff sergeant in the Army Air Force and was stationed in England with the 324th Bomb Squadron, 91st Bomb Group. His specialty was medical technician. He was featured several times in U.S. Army news photos; twice carrying wounded and once for a feature on a rash of illnesses among troops in England. The 91st Bomb Group was home to the famous “Memphis Belle” B17 Flying Fortress.

Staff Sgt. Charles D. Grinolds of Mauston (second in line) waits to be administered a sulfa pill, part of a U.S. Army Air Force effort to reduce illness at the 91st Bomb Group in England during World War II.
Staff Sgt. Charles D. Grinolds of Mauston (second in line) waits to be administered a sulfa pill, part of a U.S. Army Air Force effort to reduce illness at the 91st Bomb Group in England during World War II. (U.S. Army photo)

Grinolds lost his father, McClellan Grinolds, in 1918, when the boy was just 4. He and his brother were raised by their mother, the former Ruby Elizabeth Dockstader. The Grinolds and Dockstaders were both pioneer Juneau County families. The Hanneman family lived just around the corner from Dockstader Street, named for pioneer Benjamin Dockstader.

Staff Sgt. Charles D. Grinolds (far right) helps carry Staff Sgt. Marion M. Walshe to an ambulance after the bombardier was injured on a mission over Europe.
Staff Sgt. Charles D. Grinolds (far right) helps carry Staff Sgt. Marion M. Walshe to an ambulance after the bombardier was injured on a mission over Europe.

The baby featured in the story above, Charles Victor Grinolds, was born in England on July 29, 1945, as his father was headed back to the United States. He was one of four children born to the couple. Sadly, Charles D. Grinolds died on July 30, 1950. He was just 36. He is buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Mauston. The firstborn son grew up to have a distinguished military career, serving in the U.S. Air Force in Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War and the Iraq War. He died on June 10, 2006 in Modesto, California. He was the father of six children.

©2015 The Hanneman Archive

3 thoughts on “WWII Vet Escorts British Bride and Son to Furnished New Home”

    1. I thought so too! It wasn’t clear who all was involved in setting up all those lovely details. I assume the soldier husband, although I’ll bet the community helped, too. At times like this I wish Grandpa Carl was here so I could ask him!

      Like

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