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V2 Bomb Attacks

Heroes Remember

Well it was, it was wonderful being in Antwerp. It was such a beautiful place and, but we no sooner got there then they started throwing the V2s at the, at the harbour because they wanted to shorten the distance that everything had to be brought from England you know. We had used the (inaudible) channel ports and then there was a long haul by road up to Antwerp and beyond. And they want, if they... used the harbour in Antwerp, it would cut off all those miles and would be so much easier. And of course what it did was really they weren’t, they weren’t very accurate. These were, these were the grand, the great-grand daddies of the rockets we have today and they weren’t very accurate and they fell anywhere in the city and it was such a magnificent city, Antwerp, and so much of it was destroyed. It was dreadful, many civilians. It was, we lived in a, it was six of us or eight I think, lived in this magnificent mansion, across from a little park and by the time we’d been, well, we hadn’t been there any time before the first rockets fell and they tore the... hardware right out of the floors that held the doors. So we knew right away, you know, leave your doors open so the glass can go through. I had a great big beautiful stained glass window beside my cot and it was blown out. So you knew right away, you know, that you have to keep everything open and fortunately we, the sisters were I think in eight different billets and nobody was hurt. Nobody in the unit was hurt due to the rockets so I think that was quite wonderful, because there was no restrictions on us. We could go where we liked, but it was, it was a dreadful, dreadful thing that happened to the city. And of course they apparently they, I don’t think hit them, the harbour. If they did it wasn’t very often so the harbour wasn’t (inaudible) but a lot of people suffered trying to get, you know, to use the harbour. Well, we’d been there up until near Christmas and we were all packed and ready to move up to Holland and all our equipment was put away and packed up. We rolled the blankets, the men rolled the blankets in great big like carpets and wired them. All the table, little bedside tables, collapsed. The beds all collapsed. We had great big old warehouse, boxes that we used every time we moved and put all the other equipment in those. So we’re all packed and ready to go, and I was going in the advanced party to Holland the next morning and all of a sudden we were all called back because a rocket had hit a cinema right not far from us and it, Antwerp was used as a rest and recreation centre for all men, lots of people on leave. So many, many people were killed outright. I don’t know how many, but we were called back because they had to start opening up the hospital to receive these people. There were terrible wounds, and they looked so awful because they were all like mimes you know. They were absolutely white from the plaster in the cinema. It was really, really awful and they had terrible wounds from, you know, glass, flying glass and that sort of thing. I can remember looking after one young British lad named (inaudible) said what’s wrong with him and I said, “Well, what did you do until they dug you out?” He said “Well, it wasn’t so bad sister. You know, they handed us down cups of tea.” And we got along alright, you know. That lad was dead within an hour. His lungs totally collapsed inside from the blast. We still left the next day, the advanced party, but the others were left to re- fold the hospital and try to put everything back together ready to move.

Ms. Sloan describes the devastation in Antwerp when V2 bombs hit the city.

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.

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

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