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How Will They Cope?

Heroes Remember

You remember some of the amputations and you know, you wonder, “How are they going to cope when they get home?” Also, you would hope that the penicillin was adequate - that there wouldn't be any infection and then, of course, we didn’t have them too long because we were an active hospital and they’d be sent off to England for convalescence and that, I think, was where they had a hard time too because the men would be coming to grips with their injury and amputation or whatever... blindness,... whatever and they’d wonder how they were going to cope with life back in Canada with their family. I also of think the nursing sisters who didn’t go overseas for various reasons. I had a friend who was packed, ready to go in one hour, to go overseas. This was just at the end of the war and they suddenly decided that she was needed in the OR in Toronto, the hospital in Toronto and she didn’t go over and she felt that she, maybe, didn’t make the contribution that the people who had gone over and yet, the thing was, the nurses who were here, they had to... well, they had to be psychiatrists. They had to be very understanding, coping with the people who came back, cause when we had them over there it was physical and sometimes they went back to the unit, most of them did. But, here they came back home wondering how do they fit into their home life and how do they... how does the family accept them and can they earn a living again. It must have been awful.

Many soldiers had to return to Canada after suffering life altering injuries.

Kathleen Jean MacAulay

Ms. MacAulay was born in Meadowville, Nova Scotia on January 2, 1917. She attended school in Meadowville in a one room school for grades 1 - 10. Then she went to nearby Stellarton for grade 11 and New Glasgow for grade 12. After attending Maritime Business College for a year, she left and went to Halifax to train as a nurse at the Victoria General Hospital. Ms. MacAulay graduated as a nurse in 1941 and enlisted to go overseas. Ms. MacAulay made the four day voyage on the Queen Elizabeth and landed in Scotland. Shortly after arriving, she was sent to Bramshott where she worked in the operating room and in the ward from Oct. ‘43 to July ‘44. From there, she went to Whitby for a short period before heading over to Normandy. Ms. MacAulay ended up in Germany at the end of the war and was there for part of the occupation. She met her husband, a Canadian soldier, in Germany and was married to him in Jan. ‘46. She returned to Canada aboard HMS Rodney in June of ‘46.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Kathleen Jean MacAulay
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Nursing Officer
Nursing Sister

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