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Voice from the Past

Sub-Lt Thomas Chalmers Glen McBride was an accountant in Wellington before he joined the Fleet Air Arm (the flying branch of the Navy) in 1942. He trained in Britain and in Detroit, USA, before being commissioned in 1943.It was during that American stint that Glen McBride was able to record two messages to send home his personal greetings in time for Christmas.

The messages were recorded on Recordio-Grams – the audio equivalent to the photo-booth for on-the-spot production of voice letters, which became popular in America during WWII. A coin was inserted into the Recordio-Gram machine and the machine recorded your message onto a thin cardboard record via a telephone handset. The booth also provided you with a handy mailing envelope.

Recently received by the Museum, these Recordio-Grams have now been converted to modern audio files and we can hear Glen’s voice from 70 years ago.

“Young Linda” was Linda Butler, Glen’s fiancé. The couple married in April 1945 when Glen returned home to New Zealand on leave. However, they only had 5 weeks together before Glen had to return to his ship, the aircraft carrier HMS Indefatigable. Linda never saw him again.

Glen McBride was lost over Japan on 10 August 1945. He was killed just five days before the Japanese surrender and is believed to be the last New Zealander killed in action in the Second World War.

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