Cold War nursing badge

Contributed by bbcsheffield

Cold War nursing badge

I remember vividly the evening that this badge was given to me. In the 1950s a cloud hung over the world, The Cold War. We were told a nuclear attack was possible. The NHS Reserve called a meeting and as a nurse I was invited. As I left home my husband returned from a farm auction and began sorting out his new objects including a huge paraffin stove with a big chimney. The mood was grim at the NHS Reserves meeting and we were given details of the carnage caused by a nuclear explosion. If the red button were pressed in a mad moment, it would be catastrophic - we were filled with dread. My spirits lifted as I got closer to home and my loved ones but when I pushed open the door, to my horror, black smoke met me. Soot hung from the newly-whitewashed beams and the pretty frilly edged curtains. My baby son, who was unconcernedly sitting in a butcher's basket sucking on a lamb chop, looked up at me with panda eyes and my husband was desperately trying to clean up. "What happened?!" I said. "Talk about nuclear bombs, it looks as though one's dropped in this room!" ... "Sorry love," my husband replied - "I lit the paraffin stove but I didn't realise the chimney needed a flue!"

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Cold War, 1950s

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