Veteran Stories:
Ruth Harrison

Army

  • Ruth in full battle dress and full kit. Nurses had the same kit as the men with the exception of weapons. England 1944.

  • Crossing to France as part of the invasion forces, 12th Canadian General Hospital. July 1944.

  • This old abbey in Brugge was used as a hospital in 1944-45.

  • Embarkation of a plane by nursing staff.

  • Nurse Ruth with Dutch orphans, 1945. "The Dutch were fabulous to us. Very sad, so much suffering by so many."

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"So they piled us aboard sixty hundredweights and drove over miles of dusty roads until we got to these mobile showers. It was beautiful to have that shower."

Transcript

My name is Ruth Fawcett Harrison. I did my training at the Aberdeen Hospital in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. I joined the army in 1943, and was stationed in Halifax and Debert. We left for overseas on May the 28th, 1944. We sailed from Halifax on one of the largest convoys that ever went across. While we were in the lower part of England we crossed the Channel and went to Normandy, where we joined up with No. 7 Canadian General Hospital while we were waiting for our own hospital to be made ready. While we were there it was very dry and dusty, and there was a very bad shortage of water. We were only allowed so much water a day for our drinking, washing, and cleaning our teeth and so on. And then one day they decided that it was time the No. 12 Nursing Sisters had a bath. So they piled us aboard sixty hundredweights and drove over miles of dusty roads until we got to these mobile showers. It was beautiful to have that shower. The only thing is we had to crawl back on to the sixty hundredweights and go back over those dusty roads, and by the time we got back to camp we were just as dirty as ever. But it was nice. We didn't have much to do while we were with No. 7 so we made little trips around the countryside, and one day one of the girls and I decided we'd do a little a traveling and see what we could see of the countryside. And as we were walking along the road, this convoy of Canadian sixty-hundred weights came along, and one of the boys was in the cab by himself and he told us to get in. So the first thing he wanted to know was what your name was and where you were from, and I told him my name and I told him I was from Spring Hill, Nova Scotia. "Oh," he said, "there's two boys from Spring Hill a couple of cabs up. When we stop for our next ten-minute break I'll take you up." So we rode for an hour and stopped, and went up two cabs up. And both the boys, I knew them very well. And they were some surprised to see me.
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