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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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D-Day Strawberries and Gangreneicon for Recommended story

by Betty Hills

Contributed by 
Betty Hills
People in story: 
Betty Hills
Location of story: 
Gosport, Hampshire
Background to story: 
Civilian Force
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
08 June 2004

During the D-Day period I was a Red Cross VAD working as an Operating Room Assistant [ORA] at the Royal Naval Hospital, Haslar, Gosport, Hampshire. The theatre was one of two built in the vast cellars with the main steam pipes running under the ceilings and was always hot and smelly. So we used to put perfume on our masks to try and counter this. Have you ever smelt gas gangrene?

The theatre usually had only one table but two more were added and as each table had its own team consisting of surgeon, sister, two VADs, anaesthetist and his assistant we were pretty crowded.

Casualties started to come in from 7th June and x-rays were taken of their wounds so that the surgeons would know where to probe for the bullets, etc. We were classed as a base hospital so after surgery the wounds were plastered over with a little note on the outside to show what had been done and then most of the casualties were transferred to other hospitals up country.

I shall never forget the wonderful feeling of “all pulling together”. Amongst the theatre staff everybody was so good-tempered and helpful.
…And strawberries! Whenever I see one now, I think of D-Day. The twenty-four hours were split into three watches: 4am to 12noon, 12noon to 8pm and 8pm to 4am and I can well remember going on duty at 4am having just demolished a dish of lovely luscious strawberries!

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Nursing and Medicine Category
D-Day+ 1944 Category
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