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Monday, March 30, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: City welcomes home Sgt. McKie and his new English bride

Spokane welcomed home war hero Sgt. William J. “Fighting” McKie, and his “pretty 21-year-old” English bride, reported the Spokane Daily Chronicle on April 7, 1919. (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)
Spokane welcomed home war hero Sgt. William J. “Fighting” McKie, and his “pretty 21-year-old” English bride, reported the Spokane Daily Chronicle on April 7, 1919. (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)

Spokane welcomed home war hero Sgt. William J. “Fighting” McKie, and his “pretty 21-year-old” English bride.

The Spokane Daily Chronicle said it believed she was the first “genuine war bride” to “receive the city’s hospitality.”

“The young war bride already had demonstrated her Americanism by learning to play the ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ from memory,” said the paper.

The romance sprang up when Miss Dorothy Hodger “nursed her future husband in the Ipswich Hospital in her home town” of Horsham, Sussex, England. Sgt. McKie had been injured during a poison gas attack at Lens. This was Sgt. McKie’s second gas attack, and he had also been wounded in the leg.

Sgt. McKie was well-known in Spokane for his lectures against German propaganda and his promotion of Liberty bonds.

“I have fallen in love with Spokane,” said the new Mrs. McKie. “I have decided to stay here for the rest of my life and become a genuine American. I did not like Canada, but I think the people here are very friendly.”

From the Army beat: Spokane was planning a to give the returning 361st Infantry of the 91st Division a “welcome they will never forget.”

Details were not forthcoming, but it would apparently include a parade.

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