This post was written in collaboration with Beth Fortson.
“I’d feel like a quitter if I left the service now.”
– Wren Josephine Mary Kennelly
This Valentine’s Day, the Still Picture Branch would like to share a photo story from the series 26-G. This series is the subject of one of our ongoing digitization projects and will soon be available to researchers everywhere through our online catalog. The photographs in 26-G come from the main historical file for the U.S. Coast Guard which heavily features photographs taken during WWII.
This photo story depicts the union of a couple in love – both serving their countries on active-duty. In the spring of 1945, Women’s Royal Navy Servicewoman Josephine Mary Kennelly, 19, married American Coast Guardsman Dominick Andriacci, 29, in Liverpool, England. Both bride and groom would return to their duty stations soon after their wedding. Dominick would go back to his Coast Guard ship, and Josephine back to her role with the Women’s Royal Navy Service.
With the issuance of “Code of Wartime Practices for the American Press”, many war topics were off the table allowing an influx of uplifting stories to take their place and galvanize support for the war effort. A story such as this was shared in local newspapers back home. The detailed captions included along with these wedding photos tell not only the story of Dominick and Josephine’s marriage, but also the story shared by many WWII war brides and their foreign serviceman husbands. That common story, of weddings planned on rationed sugar and fleeting moments of leave, continues to captivate us today, over 70 years later.