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When the bride wore parachute silk for her wedding

By Lesley-Anne Henry

The wedding season is well under way, and the War Memorial Museum in Belfast is celebrating with an exhibition on GI brides.

Among the 1940s memorabilia is a wedding dress and petticoat made from white parachute silk.

The dress, which belonged to Belfast woman Peggy McAuley, was made from silk scavenged from a parachute mine or off-cuts siphoned from an RAF factory.

Peggy, who married Reg Seivor, a US soldier based in Castlewellan in 1944, was among 1,800 women who wed some of the 300,000 GIs based in Northern Ireland between 1942 and 1944 preparing for operations in North Africa and Normandy.

Her make-do-and-mend wedding dress, which would have been worn by more than one bride, is on display along with her veil and original photograph.

WWII enthusiast and collector Gary Campbell, whose aunt was a GI bride and who moved to Pennsylvania in the early 1940s, said: “When we consider the World Wars, people tend to think of the guns and bombs aspect more so than the social side. But it is just as interesting and relevant as the other side of things.”

The exhibition at War Memorial Museum on Talbot Street, beside Belfast Cathedral, is open from 10.30am to 4.30pm.

Contact Elizabeth Headon on |028 9032 0392 for more details about the exhibition.

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