Love is everywhere. To discover it, all we have to do is look around us.
QUITE REMARKABLE LADIES!
ONE OF WHOM IS
LESLIE RUTH HOWARD, WAR BRIDE
NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF CANADA
WE THANK ALL WAR BRIDES FOR WHAT THEY HAVE GIVEN OUR SOCIETY AND to ALL OF US
When The Second World War broke out in 1939, thousands of Canadian men enlisted or were conscripted into the Canadian Armed Forces and shipped overseas to Europe where many met, courted and married their wives. From August 1944 to January 1947, the Canadian Department of National Defense brought 61,334 servicemen's wives and children from Britain to Canada.
Leslie Ruth Howard is the daughter of Leslie Howard who during the 1930s and early 1940s was a renowned British and Hollywood movie actor of Hungarian descent. His most memorable role was Ashley Wilkes, the object of Scarlet O'Hara's (Vivien Leigh) unrequited love in the movie epic Gone With the Wind.
Leslie Howard's life ended prematurely at the age of 50 in 1943 when German Luftwaffe shot down the airplane in which he traveled from Portugal to England while on route over the Bay of Biscay killing all on board.
Unlike many Hollywood celebrities there was much more than what met the eye to Leslie Howard. He was a composer, movie director and superb actor. Leslie Howard had two children, Ronald and Leslie Ruth. Ronald was a notable British actor in his own right. He died in 1966. His sister, Leslie Ruth, was a young woman of eighteen when she married Canadian army serviceman Bob Dale-Harris in England in 1942.
In November, 1945 she came to Canada to join her husband where they resided in Toronto for the next fifteen years. In 1960 they moved to a farm near Uxbridge on Durham Road 1, just north of the Foster Memorial and south of the village of Leaksdale. When one of their three daughters married, several Hollywood celebrities, including David Niven, attended the wedding. Leaksdale is where Lucy Maud Montgomery began writing her world famous novels including "Ann of Green Gables" and where Thomas Foster spent his younger years.
Bob Dale-Harris died in 1982, forty years after his marriage to Leslie Ruth. In 1986 Leslie Ruth married William (Bill) Stirling and both are presently living in a farm house in the small rural community of Sandford located a short distance northwest of Uxbridge.
Leslie Ruth Howard is an accomplished writer and distinguished person in her own right. Her impressive and detailed tribute to her dad Leslie Howard, "A Quite Remarkable Father," was published in 1959 to positive reviews in North America and Britain. When seeing her one cannot help but note the physical similarity between her and her famous father.
Leslie Ruth Howard daughter of Leslie Howard
Leslie Ruth and her father co-wrote the lyrics to "Without You," (Leslie Howard composed the music), a song that Bing Crosby often sang during concert performances. When admiring Leslie Howard's wide-ranging talents, Bing Crosby once asked Leslie "How does Howard the actor and Howard the director get along with Howard the song writer?"
It is interesting to note that Leslie Howard never read Margaret Mitchell's novel nor the movie script "Gone With the Wind" before he agreed to act in the movie. Leslie Ruth recalls that her father felt it was the worst motion picture he had ever acted in and that he and David O. Selznick, the producer of the movie, quarreled continuously throughout the entire production. Evidently, Leslie Howard would often stay up late into the night memorizing his lines for the next day's filming only to learn that Selznick had rewritten his part the same night. Leslie Ruth said that she has never seen the movie in its entirety, but only snippets.
Women who married Canadian servicemen overseas during the time of the Second World War arrived by ship from England at Pier 21, Halifax, Nova Scotia; from there they boarded special trains to take them across the country to join their husbands. The last voyage of a war bride ship was the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean of the Aquitania in January 1947. A vast number of those war brides came to Ontario where many are still living among us today.
On August 26, 2000, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada dedicated a memorial plaque to Canadian War Brides positioned in the Heritage Hall, Pier 21, Halifax.
All of us in Ontario experience personal contact with these distinguished women on a continuing basis without realizing it. Leslie Ruth Howard is one of many war brides contributing much to our Canadian heritage. They are treasures. We thank them for all they have given us.