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Nursing Near The Front Line In Belgium

Heroes Remember

Nursing Near The Front Line In Belgium

And then we got a call to, it was after D-Day, after the, to go to Belgium. And so we went from... not Calais but in, in England across to Oostende, that end of, of Belgium, we came in. And so I was there in Belgium from that time until the end of the war. And I was with, first I was with the Canadian General, but we went over there, but we dispersed, we weren't together as a base hospital. Some stayed at Gent, but I went to a CCS, casualty clearing station, that is, and that, it's not the nearest line in this last war that nurses go, cause this First World War was furthest the nurses went was the casualty clearing station. But this war, the nurses asked if they could follow the troops up from Italy and go right along with them and they were in what they call, well, they're like a first aid, they just pitch a tent and look after very serious things that come in but patch them up and they go down whereas in the CCS, they did stay probably over night or a couple of nights and then were dispensed further down the line. But you are near the line that you can see the, you can usually see the flashes and you can often hear, you know, the, the guns, and then the men would tell us coming in that, "You're not very far away," they'd say. "It's just over there," or something. So, although, somebody, somebody would say to me I'd, when I'd been injured, "Were you scared?" I said, "Well, to tell you the truth, at that time we were too busy. I never thought. Oh, I was younger, but at the same time, I was too busy and I was concerned about looking after the men."

After a short time at No. 20 Canadian hospital near London, England and some further training in Yorkshire, Miss Turner and some of her fellow nursing sisters are sent to Belgium. She chooses to serve at a Casualty Clearing Station. She explains the purpose of the CCS and the role it played near the front line.

Lettie Turner

Ms. Turner was born on Christmas day in 1911. Before enlisting Ms. Turner first served with the Victorian Order of Nurses, followed by a short period as a public health nurse with the province of Nova Scotia. Ms. Turner enlisted in Halifax in 1942. She went on to take basic training in Debert, Nova Scotia, and was then posted to Halifax. She returned to Debert for further training before being posted overseas in 1944 at No. 20 Canadian Hospital near London. More training followed in Yorkshire and after D-Day she was posted to Belgium where she remained until the end of the war. In Belgium she nursed at a casualty clearing station. On her return to Canada after the war, Ms. Turner completed her nursing training, worked extensively in public health and eventually worked as a professor in universities in Canada and the United States.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Lettie Turner
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Nursing Sister

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