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From Here....To There #4


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23 March 2005

We boarded the train to go to Wolverhampton for a military training required by Mc. Arthur for every one going to Australia.
We wondered why nurses had to learn to march???

I love trains especially the big steam ones:belching and hissing;memories of my school vacations came to mind:3 hours in a train to go home. The conductors got to know us:the girls from the boardingschool in A.
He asked us whether we had good report cards-did he have daughters in school??-. we said:"Don't know! they will be sent by mail".
The nuns probably did not trust us to give it to our parents:honni soit........-
In the winter the windows fogged up, the lights at the stations had halo's around them .When it snowed we saw the flakes being thrown against the windows; some got stuck there! we had visions of making snowmen in the backyard and coming in coooold... and drinking hot cocoa . And 3 weeks study hall, not being told what to do,getting up at 5.45 am to go to chapel snoozimg sand being v carefullnot to fall out of the pew.
And the train went clickety click over the rails: making me sleepy. My thoughts went back to St. Paul's and I remembered pre war going to a HIGH MASS in the Aachener DOM where a surprise awaited us:
It was: a magnificent mixed choir, no organ , but a complete orchestra. It was a fantastic experience: praying was no problem at all.

And the train kept moving till we had to get out.We were transported to the military camp:all new impressions
What would "they" do with us.
Well, we had to "march to our barrack"-more or less,as we had not had any training yet-.
When we got in we saw:rows and rows of wooden "beds" and a stove in the middle of the barrack. On top of each bed was something big and round : a straw bag. We were told to jump on it to flatten it so we would not fall off at night.
And jump we did and sneezed from the dust that came with it.
Between the beds were little chests with drawers one for each to store our few belongings in.
Then we were assigned different jobs:Cleaning toilets and bathrooms ,sweep the barrack, get fuel for our stove etc.
( No problem for us nurses but the ancillary personel were not too happy!) "oh", we said:"We'll teach you".
Next was a trip to the dining hall: we were looked at: any possiblities to take these girls out to town?? But we were strictly supervised .The food gave us later the "runs": we were not used to the fat in the food - sheep fat we were told-it had a peculiar taste,but being hungry we were not picky.
We remembered too well how hungry we were in Holland with yukkie bread made from bulbs?-we were told-.or watery soup:no taste.
When we had to bring sandwiches around for the German troops we managed to steal some and hid it in a secret pouch under our uniform: made for that purpose. Nobody was ever caught.
We went to bed on the flat straw and fell in a deep sleep. Reveille was no fun:somebody had to coax the stove to life:we managed as we did it in Holland too if we were lucky enough to have one that would even burn linoleum:Very hot!!!fire.
Back to the hall for breakfast that tasted só good. Troops were fed well!!
Back to the barracks where we were taught how to make and fold the blanket exactly.They used a ruler!! to check it.No problem for nurses :so we helped the girls who did not know how to make a bed period! so they would not have to go on report.
After the chores were done:OUTSIDE and MARCH!!!
This was fun!!1 Some did not have a clue and were never doing what they were supposed to do because they just would not listen: they stepped on the heels of the girl in front of them. Some were completely out of step all the time. I wondered how they ever managed to dance.
When we got a break we fell on the grass around the barrack:pooped!
Slowly but surely everybody got the hang of it and practice makes perfect.
We marched :left, right, left turn, again turn to the left making a perfect angle.Stand at attention and were checked if we were equidistant from each other.
Mc. Arthur could be proud of us!. During the weekend end we were allowed to go to town :Woolworth we just loved.
Every paycheck I spent on buying things for my family. A padre attached to the Airforce-a Jesuit and friend of the family- came to see me and said that the whole family was alive. A bomb did fall on our doorstep but did not explode

He wrote a book about his experiences and I still have it.
One weekend I went to Sheffield to bring personal greetings from their son a Qm .3 in the famous 8 th. Army. He took me to many dances to the chagrin of the nuns, He was called to fight in Bastogne, survived and married a gal in S. Africa: the end of a war romance for me. He went to see my mam and said I was just doing fine. His parents were very nice to me and spent a lot of their food stamps on food for me.
And Then.... Germany ended the war. There was going to be a V.E. parade in London and I was one of the lucky ones chosen to march in London. But fate decided differently; we were transported to Liverpool to our troop ship and boy, that was another experience !!worth another story:stay tuned!

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Message 1 - Army Desk: A3820187 - Frorm Here to.... There

Posted on: 23 March 2005 by ODYSSEY

Entry: Frorm Here to.... There - A3820187 Author: ODYSSEY - U555516



Message 2 - A3820187 - Frorm Here to.... There

Posted on: 03 April 2005 by ODYSSEY

to the ARMY DESK
I wrote the articles " from here to there" and instead of sen dingit to the Board for review I sent it to the Army desk. Could you possibly remove it from the ARMY DESK and send It to the Board to be edited there? as I have been doing all along. Sorry for the mistak! josephine alias Odysseye


Message 3 - A3820187 - Frorm Here to.... There

Posted on: 03 April 2005 by ODYSSEY

I sent you a request to remove my story:"From here to there" from the Army Desk.
If that is possible could you please send it NOT : To the BOARD but to the EDITORIAL DESK? THanks very much Josephine alias Odyssey

Message 1 - From here to there, number 3

Posted on: 24 March 2005 by anak-bandung

Dear Tulip Josephine
Loved it! liked the description of your school memory - very atmospheric. I walked with you through your experiences in Britain. I am sure you have set Frank's heart a-pitter-patter with the paragraph of learning how to march. Did you have a drill sergeant such as him?
Don't let us wait too long with your next instalment! They are getting better and better.
Love, Rob @->--


Message 2 - From here to there, number 3

Posted on: 25 March 2005 by Frank Mee Researcher 241911

Dear Josephine,
Wonderful, I could see it as I read it describing so well the recruit training, the girls all feet and the ones who would swing their right arm and leg together, it happened in every Training Battalion anywhere.On the sqare I had to turn away to stop laughing at times, after all you could not be seen to be human.
Lovely story well told but the war was not over so let us here of the high jinks on that troop ship where you broke all hearts I would bet.
Regards Frank.


Message 3 - From here to there, number 3

Posted on: 25 March 2005 by Frank Mee Researcher 241911

Sorry about the typo's I am in one big hurry.


Message 4 - ' From Here to...There"#3

Posted on: 25 March 2005 by ODYSSEY

Frank, thanks for your input:it was your prodding to finish the story! I 'm already having a script in my head about the troop ship:I'll write about it as it really happened:hopefully not too many "Blue pencils" will emasculte it!After all we are all grownups!!
Yes, the marching of some of the girls was funny like you said trying to swing R. arm and R.leg together. Just did not work.
I wondered in the story why MaC. Arthur wanted the nurses to learn to march.
When we were in Australia we had a " a fight" with the gov.general of the Dutch East Indies . He did not have a clue!!This beancounter did not want us to be Officers :too expensive: Ok, we said:"we are going on strike' and we did. ( After all we were just plain nurses NOT Army nurses so they could not shoot us for insubordination) He finally had to give in. We were sent to different area's to WORK". I was sent to 115 AGH in Heidelberg near Melbourne:A huge hospital with 8000? patients, a city in itself:own postoffivce etc.I had to learn about "tropical diseases".
I was the only dutch nurse there and was treated royally. I wore my khaki's but wore the Australian "tablecloth" on my head.
This gov. said :Yes, you are officers now, but refused to give us the insignia the Allied R.N.s had!
He gave us the Airforce patch of officers but with the stripes In: orange,black and orange: the colors of the NSB in Holl : the Quislings!! .We were dumbfounded about this stupidity.
But to go back to marching nurses: i never saw any marching of nurses in this hospital.So why did we have to learn to march??
Just to keep us busy???


Message 5 - From here to there, number 3

Posted on: 26 March 2005 by ODYSSEY

Dear Rob, You enjoyed the last part of my story:i am glad. Frank really prodded me to get to work And you know i always follow orders!! i already have a concept in my head about the "troopship""!!! Go read what FRank wrote after reading my last effort.
I think it was you who wondered:Why nurses had to learn to march.?
I wrote something about what happened to us in Australia with the dumb GOV. GEN. in charge of the dutch after the Japs overan us: unbelieveable! you won't believe what he did . I should have written a short story in!WW2 about it, The guy is dead I'm sure ,so he can't sue us!!
I wrote this in English so other ones can read it if they want to. Thanks for your e -mail:i'll answer it after vauuming my house. We might get am nother wind driven rainstorm in tonite and SAT :wind,rain- >than5 cm?? a thundrer bumper? :perhaps. so i cooked ahead of time just in case!
I am sorry for the kids who are looking ahead to an EASTER EGG HUNT! Talk to you later, veel liefs Josefien.


Message 6 - From here to there, number 3

Posted on: 26 March 2005 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Dear Josephine

I agree with Frank. Wonderful stuff, as ever. I enjoyed reading your story and can hardly wait for the next episode. Well done!

Kindest regards,



Message 7 - ' From Here to...There"#3

Posted on: 26 March 2005 by ODYSSEY

Correction: the hospital i was asigned to had ONLY about 3000 patients NOT the 8000 as written. Sorry about that!Josephine


Message 8 - ' From Here to...There"#3

Posted on: 27 March 2005 by anak-bandung

I am sure that there wouldn't be a great difference between having to look after 3000 or 8000 patients! You could only do your best. Just make their beds a little faster or incorporate the more mobile patients into helping - good therapy!! This remark will show I would never have made a good nurse!
Keep it up, Josephine and dish out the dirt. You now have the opportunity, so use it.
To give the Dutch nurses a badge with the NSB colours was downright insulting. On par of forcing the British nuses to wear black shirts. Not being army-minded (forgive me chaps and chapesses)I am not quite sure why some people were made officers. Was it still, as it was the norm in WW1, to become an officer by buying a commission or because of your family background, and that enlisted men or women were just not encouraged or quietly barred from becoming officers, even though they displayed they were excellent officer material? Being the cynic I am I am sure it still goes on and people are still 'leading', who in fact should not.
I will probably be lambasted from all sides. As I said, it happened a lot in WW1, and showed at times it happened during WW2, but is it now much better? I hope so, as the army and affiliated forces are now professional.
Love, Rob @->--


Message 9 - ' From Here to...There"#3

Posted on: 27 March 2005 by ODYSSEY

Hello Rob,thanks for another comment. I wrote quite a long answer but it disappeared. So, here it goes again.
When I was in that huge A. hospital I had to learn about TROPICAL Diseases and was assigned to a medical unit with male patients.
In Holland nurses with degrees did not have special privileges:we did what we all did:taking care of patients; also bedpan patrol.
But when I worked in that A. Hospital I found out that there was a diff. system:maybe it had to do with the fact that it was a military hospital with all kinds of ranks.
Since I was told to observe I did not think I was not involved in active pat. care.
One guy asked for a bedpan and since I was the only person close by I put him on the bedpan:I promptly was called to the office and told that that was not my job:I had to call an orderly.
In Holland we take care of patients RN or not.
When I was in charge of a CCU we had a nurse wtih an Assoc degree: big deal!!. it was her turn to get a guy off the bedpan:She told us that that was not her job she was trained to lead!!
I told her :NOT HERE, observing a patient is vital. She balked but I told her if she did not like it she could leave. To her chagrin the pat.messed up his bed and she had to clean him from top till toe; she was up to her elbows in":IT" and NO Gloves were available.

She learned real fast!!
We did not make beds in that either.
I observed but ended up getting a studybook to read upon TROPICAL DISEASES.
All in all it was a very nice experience: there are obviously different systems of patients'care.

We never found out whether that Gov. General was called on the carpet about the Quisling col. badges. He never listened to our protests.He probably thought being that high up in rank he was entitled to his opinion.
I don't think too many people knew about the NSB any way.
My husband was in the Underground in Holland and when he joined a batallion put together by the underground people in his area he, as a sergeant,was asked to go to Officers' Training School but he thanked them and told the authorities he could do more for his "men" in the rank he had than as an Officer.

I don't think that old system you write about still prevails RoB, never heard it. The war changed many wrong systems and I don't think people would accept the old system anymore.
But that does not change the fact that many are in charge who never should be : reason???
the cynics say C. & C. : Connection and Corruption.
Love, Josephine.

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