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An Unkept Promise

Heroes Remember

The matron told me that I was to go back to Canada and she said, "You're going back first class!" and I said, "Oh that's good!" I thought well after all that we deserve that, that's what she said to me, and she said Mackenzie King, Mr Mackenzie King said, "First class for all the nursing sisters!" And I said, "Good!" And we went from Liverpool and we were on Liverpool docks for hours waiting to get on board the ship and I had the names of the ships but I've forgotten what they were now that , what line, but anyhow guess what, we weren't going first class at all. That ship was full of English war brides and children and we were down in the very bottom of the ship. In a great big place where the privates had been, you know, and it was five cots high and I decided I'd get to the top, that that would be perhaps better and there was a ladder to climb up top because I couldn't think of sleeping in between and I was up on the top. And it was terrible, the bathrooms, the heads were terrible, six inches in water and dirt and nobody ever cleaned it. We never saw a steward down our way.

Ms. Carter discusses Mackenzie King's promise of 1st Class passage back to Canada versus the reality of dirty accommodations in the belly of the ship in which she sailed home.

Doris Carter

Doris Carter was born in Birkenhead, England on June 9, 1910. Her family emigrated to Woodstock, New Brunswick and in 1932 she enrolled in Nursing at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal. Ms. Carter graduated in 1935, and was recruited to a wartime surgical team, prior to the war's onset. On November 30, 1940 she went overseas with #1 Military Hospital to nurse civilians injured in the bombings of Coventry and Birmingham. Ms. Carter was then sent to the Mediterranean with #5 Military Hospital. She served in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and Northwestern Europe. After the war, Ms. Carter pursued a career in Public Health Nursing.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
March 8, 1998
Person Interviewed:
Doris Carter
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Atlantic Ocean
Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps

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