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A positive impact on her nursing career

Heroes Remember

A positive impact on her nursing career

I think it helped me because I think I went overseas as a youngster, as a child almost, you know, I had never experienced anything like that and I grew up I was very much more mature when I came back. Even my father said that. He said, “You know you've grown up!” And I said, “I've grown up very fast!” I think so, I think it made me better as far as treating other people. I saw so many miserable, miserable creatures over there who had nothing and nobody helped them, nobody... When I came back to Newfoundland, went nursing out in the outposts, I'm telling you I was everything I could be to those people. Oh I think it helped me in a way. For one thing I went out to the outpost to work and I was in charge of myself, nobody was telling me what to do except headquarters in St. John's or something like that. I built up my little nursing station and I delivered babies and I hadn't delivered a baby or seen a baby delivered for months and years but we managed. Interviewer: That must have been a joy after what you had seen in the army. Oh God, to bring life in rather than see it going out.

Ms. Whittaker discusses how the misery she dealt with during the Second World War positively shaped her attitude in her career as a civilian nurse in Newfoundland's outports.

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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