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Comforting The Wounded

Heroes Remember

Comforting The Wounded

You did your assignments, which were just like there would be in any hospital. Maybe you were in charge of penicillin, maybe you were in charge of dressings, maybe you were in charge of just the pill part of it you know or else helping, just helping patients like, encouraging them. And you did that all the time because you know at night when you hear patients crying it’s pretty awful and they want their mothers, this is what they want and that’s where I think the sisters did a lot of good because they take time, talk to the chap maybe, give them a back rub, light a cigarette. If he didn’t have a hand that could hold a cigarette maybe for him or one of his buddies always did that, you know. They helped the ones who had a hand and the ones who didn’t have hands helped the ones, you know, it was just wonderful. But I think they looked on us maybe as sisters, well you know what I mean, but as part of a family and I think that maternal instinct that women have played a very big part in those especially the young, young soldiers because they were so far from home and you know maybe hadn’t had any mail for a month and they’d be wondering about their family and this sort of thing. You could talk to them and you could be treating them at the same time, you know. You weren’t wasting any time, but just that little few minutes extra to chat, maybe went to sleep right away after you know. It was so fulfilling. There was no glamour about it at all. It’s just blood and guts as the boys say, you know. Really, it’s hard, slogging. There’s nothing, not the least thing glamourous about it or... I think we were all people doing jobs that were assigned to us. The infantry fought on their legs with their gun. The engineers built bridges and roads. The service people brought us all the equipment we needed. The reamy repaired everything. Everybody had a specific function depending on what units they belonged to, and so the whole total effort came together and I think that was what was the wonderful thing about it and I don’t think you see that in movies. I don’t know because as I said, I haven’t really seen many. But the total effort combined was I think what paid off, of everybody doing their best. You couldn’t help but think of those guys going out day after day with their life on the line and living in little slit trenches that wouldn’t give you any protection at all. We were fortunate. We were cared for. We were looked after. We respected what they did and why they were doing it and we were so grateful when they were successful. There was a very deep respect for the nurses. The sisters were their friends and we weren’t as, maybe as strict you know as their male officers that they knew. They knew we were officers. They respected us for that, but I think there was a, there was a real tender feeling towards the nurses because they were the closest thing to home that they had.

Ms. Sloan shares the compassion provided to the wounded and the strong sense of respect they felt from the injured young men.

Hallie Sloan

Hallie Sloan was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1920. At age ten, she and her family moved to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Ms. Sloan always had the desire to become a nurse and moved to Vancouver where she obtained a nursing degree at the Vancouver General Hospital. When war was declared she became very anxious to serve her country in the medical field. She decided to join the army. She held the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and Matron-in-Chief in the Medical Service, serving in Germany and many parts of Canada. After the war, Hallie continued her nursing career and devoted much of her time towards advocating the vital part that nursing sisters played during wartime service and post-war. Ms. Sloan was the National President of the Nursing Association of Canada (1994-1996) and was active in volunteer work. She has become a strong role model for the Nursing Sisters Association.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Hallie Sloan
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War

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