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> Issue 34 > Page 5 - World War One Continues: Nursing-Sisters in England and France

Page 5 - World War One Continues: Nursing-Sisters in England and France

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1983/8/1 (346 reads)

think of them being sort of gloomy, a de? pressing atmosphere. But the troops were wonderful with each other. A ward full of semi-convalescents and others in bed, was a bright, cheerful place. There was always music--of course, there were gramophones and records. And as soon as they were able to, there were games of all sorts to play. Their time in hospital was made just as happy as possible. (Were they doing things as well to rehabil? itate these men?) No, that was waiting till they got home. In France, it was just the in-between. Many of them were taken home. But a lot of them weren't fit to tra? vel for some time. And then what always made me feel sad was, some of them would come down with monor casualties--I don't mean just a little scratch on the hand or foot, but something that could be healed in some weeks--and then they'd have to go back up the line. It always made me feel sad. Having been in the line, and getting a wound, to have to go back again. You know, that must have been difficult. But I never shall cease wondering how wonderful the troops were. (That they would go back?) Go back cheerfully. They had to go back, but it's a difference from going back grouching and complaining, and go back cheerfully, perhaps for their last time. Oh, dear. That always made me feel sad, at the general hospital, to see the troops go? ing back. I don't like reminiscing. Because some? times I hear reminiscences that sort of make me laugh. They're sort of overdrawn, you know. People, I think, sometimes draw on their imaginations, as time goes by. When people receive a decoration, they make a sort of a graphic situation out of that. After all, we didn't do anything. I wouldn't say that no nurse did anything spectacular, but it just doesn't seem to me, doesn't work out with things that I re? member. We had our part to play, and I think it was very well played by most nurses. But there wasn't any rushing out and grabbing people from the front line, or that sort of thing. Or going out into No Man's Land and bringing somebody in. That's all nonsense, to my mind. Somebody was asking me about my decoration--the Roy? al Red Cross; King George V presented it in Buckingham Palace--"What did you do?" Well, I feel just like saying what one of the men said when somebody said, "How did you win this decoration?"--"I was there." I think the nurses played a very important part. Just like the mother in a family. She's not doing anything heroic from day to day, but she's doing a marvellous job. Don't you feel that? That's very much the situation, I think, that could be said to be true, of what the nurses did. They filled a wonderful background towards help? ing those men back to normal life again. (Do you feel it was the most exciting ex? perience of your life?) Oh, absolutely. Oh yes, oh yes. (You've lived a long life, and you don't feel that there was...?) Nothing to compare with it, no. (So if there hadn't been a First World War....) I would have been up with the Grenfell Mis? sion. I don't know why I, who came from that quiet little glen, should want to do that sort of thing. But that is what I wanted to do. Beautiful, Intelligent and Peaceful Idlb ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL '' NATIONAL HISTORIC PARK No Admission Charge 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. July 1 to Labour Day 9 am. - 5 p.m. the Rest of the Year Parks Canada Pares Canada Children Can Build & Fly a Bell Kite Special Evening Presentations Inquire 295-2069 for Times GUIDE SERVICE AVAILABLE Baddeck N.S. Open 7 Days a Week 75 km. west of Sydney on Route 105 BELL THE MAN * BELL THE EXPERIMENTER * HYDROFOIL HALL
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