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They were marvelous patients.

Heroes Remember

They were marvelous patients.

Caserta was an old, old town. All the buildings were like the one we had - old stone places, you know, and you just had to make it into what you wanted it. There was nothing there I don't know what it was before, probably an old school. It was a very big one and they got that fixed up. We had no electricity and we got patients right away, as soon as we had beds up which wasn't too long. I think the English loaned us some beds and we got set up and we'd be going around at night and sulfur drug was the big thing, then the pills we got and we was trying to wake these men up to get them to take a couple of pills with a flashlight and an old mug. It was no more like a hospital now. We had a good many quite bad injuries that needed a lot of care and a lot of help when they were trying to turn or anything like that, you couldn't do a patient all by yourself, not some of them. They were just too badly injured. Oh there were horrors, sure, but I was going to say the men were braver. You know, if you were in nursing a bunch of kids who had their legs blown off and it would make you sick pretty fast but these were grown men who were trained to be just attentive and they were marvelous, marvelous patients and we just broke our necks for them.

Ms. Whittaker describes the very modest hospital where she worked in Caserta, Italy. She observes that despite having very little with which to treat the wounded, they were brave men and wonderful patients.

Geraldine Whittaker

Geraldine Whittaker was born on March 12, 1915 in Trinity Bay, Newfoundland. Her father was the local doctor, and she would accompany him on his rounds. Ms. Whittaker decided to become a nurse after graduating from school, entering the nursing program at Montreal General Hospital. In 1937, after three years of training, she decided to enlist in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps. After war was declared, Ms. Whittaker went to England where she served in hospitals at Farnborough and Horley. She was deployed to North Africa, but her ship was torpedoed in the Mediterranean Sea. Rescued personnel were landed in Naples, Italy. Ms. Whittaker served in a hospital in nearby Caserta for eight months. She volunteered for service in France, was transferred there, and later served in Belgium and Holland. After her return to Newfoundland, Ms. Whittaker continued her nursing career.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Geraldine Whittaker
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps

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