Page 2 - World War One Continues: Nursing-Sisters in England and France
ISSUE : Issue 34
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1983/8/1
make life as comfortable as possible for them. It was a delightful hospital. Every? thing was bright and cheerful. And one of the frequent visitors we used to have was the famous Lady Astor, because it was on their estate, the hospital. Nancy Astor-- she used to breeze into the wards almost every day. (When I talk to soldiers, they tell me that the real experience of war was differ? ent from what they thought it would be when they went over.) How could anybody im? agine something that was so foreign as war? (Did you find it difficult for yourself in any way?) When you were working with seri? ously ill people, you were so busy think? ing of them that you didn't think of your? self at all. You were just trying to make them comfortable. When they talked about their situation, naturally they could only speak of the small area in which they them? selves had been found, in which they oper? ated. Their overall picture wouldn't be very much wider than the average citizen. You can understand how that would be, can't you? You feel that a man who was in the war must know a great deal about what was going on, but he really doesn't. He knows what's going on in his own intimate comer, so to speak, or his trench, or at his gion. (You did not feel they knew what the war was about?) Oh, no. I'm sure that they didn't know any more than perhaps lots of civilians. (When you say you never thought of your? self- -was there never any danger to the hospitals that you served in?) When I served at the casualty clearing stations. there was--real danger. That's the nearest nursing station to the front. The casualty clearing stations were all in Belgium or France. I was only in England for a short time, and in January I went to France. (Did you volunteer for that?) No, we were chosen. I spent 6 months in a casualty clearing station, and they were quite near the front, so to speak, within ambulance distance. And you could hear the bombing there, of course. And some casualty sta? tions were bombed, but not many. In a cer? tain area, there were doctors who were cas? ualties, and nurses, too. And the station? ary hospitals were very much on the system of an ordinary hospital at home. Some of them were bombed. But I never happened to be in a general hospital that was bombed. (When you served at a casualty station, what was your job there?) Just your nurs? ing. They were lying in their beds. They'd had first aid dressings up in the field by the doctors in the forward areas, right with the troops. But their second dressing would be in the casualty clearing station. (And you would have to do that?) No, no. The doctors would treat them first, before the nurses had anything to do with them.. We weren't giving them first aid. They'd had first aid already. A nurse assisted the doctor with the dressings, the initial dressings, and later on she'd have to see to them herself. (Would there be a lot of boys come to the casualty station at one time?) Oh yes. Sometimes hundreds. There were many wards. Usually they built what they called huts, and each hut contained a ward, and there'd OPEN 7.00 A.M. TO 11.00 P.M. Bonnie Jean Restaurant Home-Cooked Meals with Fresh Vegetables Gift Shop Groceries and Meats On Highway 105 near the Seal Island Bridge Bob's Coins, Crafts & Collectables Serving All of Cape Breton Island RARE COINS STAMPS COMICS Cape Breton Handmade Crafts Numismatic & Philatelic Books & Accessories FREE APPRAISALS 457 Grand Lake Road, Sydney 562-0479 J.A.Young&Son; We want-to be vour travel agent. For all your travel needs**. American Express Travel Service J. A. Young & Son Insurance & Travel Agent 181 Charlotte Street Sydney, N.S. 539-'800 ''re the all-around travel agent • with hundreds of American Express Company, subsidiary and Representative Travel Service offices to help you here and all around the world. And with an all-around package of services no one else can match: • Book plane tickets • Arrange complete vacations • Sell, cash or refund American Express? Travelers Cheques : Offer complete business travel service • Help at destination • Reserve hotel space • Provide rental cars and limousines • Provide American Express pay-later plans (for American Express? Cardmeicbe'rs) • A unique combination of travd financial services Don't kave home without us." C2)
Cape Breton's Magazine