War is declared

Hilary Anderson and Jean James recall being transferred to Hill End Hospital as trainee nurses from St Barts

By C D

Extract from LIFE AT HILL END 1940 –THERE IS A WAR ON

By Hilary Anderson (nee Gathercole) and Jean James (nee Mossman)

Published in The Hillender 7 Oct 1982   St Albans Museums

‘War had just been declared and it seemed like the end of everything that we, young ladies just starting our second year of nursing at Bart’s Hospital in London, had hoped and planned for.’

The nurses describe the Hospital’s transformation into an Emergency Medical Services Hospital and the traumatic task of looking after the war wounded.

THE HOSPITAL AND OUR PATIENTS

‘They (the wards) were Victorian mahogany monstrosities, one opening into another in almost endless succession.

Fortunately very few patients were admitted during the first few weeks as supplies were practically non-existent. Hill End had been designated an EMS (Emergency Medical Services) Hospital and was intended mainly for services patients. When on duty we spent much of our time scrubbing, cleaning and polishing, trying to get things in order. The ward sisters had found old sheets and other scraps from which we made tea towels, bedpan covers and various other items of ward linen.

Somehow the ward sisters created order from chaos which enabled us nurses to do our work and reproduce the routine of our wards at Barts.’

This page was added on 14/06/2011.

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