Veteran Stories:
Elizabeth Lowe

Army

  • A newspaper reporter caught Elizabeth Lowe phoning home after arriving back in Canada at the end of the war.

    Elizabeth Lowe
  • Elizabeth Lowe calls home after returning from overseas at the end of the war.

    Elizabeth Lowe
  • At Elizabeth's ward in England they would sometimes move the bedridden patients outdoors for a little air, 1942.

    Elizabeth Lowe
  • A magazine article that featured Elizabeth's hospital in Sicily and Italy (part 2 of 2).

    Elizabeth Lowe
  • A magazine article that featured Elizabeth's hospital in Sicily and Italy (part 1 of 2).

    Elizabeth Lowe
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"We’d get sometimes a thousand coming down, one after the other. So we would fix them up and keep some and some we would send back to North Africa for long term care. So it was a steady stream of the injured."

Transcript

But we didn’t know where we were going except we thought probably with the shorts being issued to the men, we were going south. So we didn’t… it was all very secret. We went under canvas and had to learn how to adapt. In July [1943], the invasion [of Sicily] started, troops started going out the Mediterranean and we followed. So there was another two or three troopships, some going to North Africa. We didn’t know where we were going but we were on the Mediterranean, so we knew it would be hot. And eventually, we [No. 5 Canadian General Hospital] landed nine days [July 19, 1943] after the invasion of Sicily. We had a big Sicilian hospital and it was fairly poorly equipped. And if a child was sick, the family moved in. We were being shot at, planes were ack-ack [anti-aircraft]. We had patients out in canvas outside, it was so crowded. They were sleeping under the canvas under the sun, into the night. And ack-ack - planes would come over, taking shots at them. There was a young fellow who was 19, and he was terribly wounded. His legs were shattered and he was determined to get better and go back to the unit. That was the amazing thing about them. When they got into the hospital, the first thing they wanted was to get back to the unit, even though they were under fire. My husband [Major Bruce Lawson] was in the [4th] Princess Louise Dragoon Guards [4th Reconnaissance Regiment], reconnaissance. And he was killed on their action, they go ahead and they were up in Italy [in September, 1944]. And pretty well north Pesaro and he was shot in an officer’s meeting. One of those things, he was just sort of, at the wrong place at the wrong time. And I had married before the action started, so when my husband was killed, I wanted to go back to my unit. By that time, they were up in Rome. In Rome, we had a lovely big hospital and carried on just as a general hospital. They would come back, soldiers would be injured and go to a casualty clearing station and had their preliminary treatment and then we’d get a load of them. We’d get sometimes a thousand coming down, one after the other. So we would fix them up and keep some and some we would send back to North Africa for long term care. So it was a steady stream of the injured.
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