Veteran Stories:
Evelyn Mary Merriam (née Thorne)

Army

  • Inspection, Maintenance and Care of Army Vehicles Pamphlet from June 13, 1941.

    Evelyn Thorne
  • Mrs. Thorne's Army Travel Certificate.

    Evelyn Thorne
  • Evelyn Thorne's Discharge Certificate, dated September 23, 1943.

    Evelyn Thorne
  • Evelyn Thorne in Halifax, Nova Scotia, September 27, 2010.

    Historica Canada
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"I went to a sort of hospital that was attached to a gun site in Eashing, London, and I drove an army ambulance."

Transcript

I decided to join the ATS [Auxiliary Territorial Service], which is the [British] Army, the women’s army. You go to a place called Aldermaston, which does your basic training. And then after that, I went to a driver training and had a test, of course, in a place called Camberley. I was stationed from there in near Bramley, Surrey; and I drove a three ton truck, which I drove up to Dulwich in London for the company provisions. I had a man doing the lift and lugging, but I drove the truck, it was a three ton truck. After that, I went to a sort of hospital that was attached to a gun site in Eashing, London, and I drove an army ambulance. When we were driving this big vehicle, the ambulance, we actually, I don’t think we had more than about one patient. It was just attached to a little sort of cottage hospital, you might call it. But it was also attached to the gun site in the big park, that was handy. Anyway, this big vehicle, it had a habit of stalling at the traffic lights and neither one of us could, you know, the crank that they used to have on those old vehicles? We couldn’t start it, of course, and couldn’t use the crank; and we’d have to stop one of the people passing by, a strong looking man, and get the thing started again. So we had quite a time with that. Where I was stationed with that three ton truck, we had to march from the unit that we were in to the cenotaph in the village. And the soldiers that were also there had to march, of course, and the ATS girls, we were in the back of this group that was going, but the soldiers, of course, they were marching a lot quicker than we. We had an awful time keeping up with them. When I came to Canada, I came to Port Greville in Nova Scotia; and we had no electricity and no paved roads. And the road from the bus where we came on the bus to Parrsboro is about 10 miles down shore to where we were going. And, of course, the roads were icy in January; and I had never driven on or travelled on icy roads. So I would say that was the scariest part of the whole trip.
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