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Getting the Wrong Treatment

Heroes Remember

Getting the Wrong Treatment

The thing that was pointed out in this book that we got, showed that the Gentian violet was very damaging to the curing of the, in fact it made some of them worse and Dr. Tilley when he was hearing about different people that were in some hospital somewhere they were Canadians, he went to see them and said “You come with me to East Grinstead”, you know, and that was where he started with the saline baths and then he started rebuilding bodies. But there were some men that really suffered from those Gentian violet and tonic acid. They were getting the wrong treatment, but I guess people didn’t know any better. But here we have this wonderful Australian doctor and Dr. Tilley, Ross Tilley and he did call it experimental. In fact they made up a song in the Guinea Pigs about, “they are (inaudible) army, we are his guinea pigs” or something. There’s a song that they used to sing. They were proud of being guinea pigs for him. Because of what he did for them, you know, mentally, spiritually, and bodily.

Mrs. Jackson tells about the wrong treatment being provided to the burned men in respect to saline baths and how the two doctors offered to take them to East Grinstead and begin rebuilding their bodies.

Beatrice Jackson

Mrs. Beatrice Jackson was born in Ontario, Canada July 1924. As a child her family moved to England where she was raised until the War broke out. While living in England, Beatrice decided to join the Royal Canadian Air Force, Women’s Division. She took on an occupation of a Posting Clerk in the Administration Division of the Royal Canadian Air Force. The highlight of her wartime service was visiting the East Grinstead hospital in England on her days off and caring for the burned victims. Her most precious memory of war is the friendships she made and the care she provided to the burn victims who would later be known as “The Guinea Pigs” Their remarkable story is told by, Rita Donovan, in her book, “ As for the Canadians: The Remarkable Story of the RCAF's"Guinea Pigs" of World War II” Of which the following excerpt has been taken: They were the fried airmen, the mashed airmen of the war. Canadians took to the skies young, fit and whole. Some of them burned and were mangled. In another war they would have been hushed up, shut away in institutions or homes. But they were about to encounter the best piece of luck they had seen in a while – the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead, Sussex. They were about to become members of the Guinea Pig Club. New Zealander Archibald McIndoe and Canadian Ross Tilley were the surgeons who put the airmen s bodies back together, performing experimental plastic surgery. But they did more: they took the battered boys and helped rebuild their spirits, gave them back their confidence, and returned them to society. They did it with a crack medical team, barrels of beer and theatre tickets in London, with a town that adopted the damaged airmen as their own. They did it without a single suicide. This is the story of the Canadian Wing of the most unusual club in the world. ... Excerpt from the book As for the Canadians: The Remarkable Story of the RCAF s Guinea Pigs of World War II, by Rita Donovan. (Ottawa: BuschekBooks, 2000)To this day, Mrs. Jackson holds the experience of caring for these airmen her most precious memory and has maintained longstanding friendships with the many woman she served with during that time. Mrs. Jackson returned to Canada, after the war where she married and raised a family.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Beatrice Jackson
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Air Force
Royal Canadian Air Force Women's Division

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