Desperately seeking Shirl: Bob Barton

| Love and LossBob Barton

| A War Bride’s Tale: Dawne and Fred Balester

| Thanks for the Memories


In later life, many Marine veterans have actively sought to discover what became of their Melbourne girlfriends in subsequent decades.  Before leaving Melbourne, Marine  private Bob Barton became engaged to beautiful Footscray girl Shirley:

[A]s time went by and I became more depressed because of the Marine living conditions...Finally when I got hit in the face and lost my front teeth from Jap mortar sc[h]rapnel on Peleliu I just stopped writing. …Since I was disfigured and she was such a beautiful girl [I guessed] she would no longer be interested in me. She wrote a couple of more time and I guess when I didn’t answer she figured I had broke[n] our engagement off.  About 1 1/2 years later when my face had healed and I had my false teeth I regained my confidence and wrote to her. Her family replied to my letter, told me I had screwed-up her life enough, that she was engaged to a fellow and for me to please leave her alone. I did!!

50 years later, Bob went searching for Shirley. Sadly, he discovered she had tragically died in 1948, aged only 28.

Image right: U.S. Marine Bob Barton, Melbourne, 1943
~ Bob Barton Private Collection ~

Bob BartonShirley and Friends

Image 2: Bob Barton at home in California, USA, 1996
~ Rachel Jenzen Private Collection ~

Image 3: U.S. Marines and Australian friends, Melbourne, September, 1943.
Photo taken by U.S. Marine Private Bob Barton.
~ Rachel Jenzen Private Collection ~

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