British civilian in Sidcup, Kent and Northern Ireland, GB, 1909-1940: served as ambulance driver in Sidcup area, 1940-1945.
REEL 1: Aspects of period in Kent and Northern Ireland, GB , 1909-1940: family background and childhood in Sidcup, Kent; various memories of the First World War including rationing, air raids and civil defence measures; story about wounded soldiers in local hospitals and effect of war on mother’s nerves; description of father’s air raid duties; reflections on period of First World War; description of life and employment during inter-war years including training as nurse and working as matron at boys’ school in Chislehurst.
REEL 2 Continues: story of school in Chislehurst being evacuated during time of Munich Crisis, 1938; reaction to outbreak of war while working in local hospital, 9/1939; story about suspected spies; story of going to Northern Ireland and employment as governess on large estate, 1939-1940; attitude to Sinn Fein and possible German invasion; description of return to GB, 1940; story of volunteering for the Ambulance Service; previous driving experience.
REEL 3 Continues: Aspects of period as driver with Ambulance Service in Kent, GB, 1940-1945: description of ambulances, uniform and training; description of first aid posts; organisation and co-ordination of Fire Service, Rescue Service and Ambulance Service; description of accommodation for female ambulance crews; various memories of cases dealt with during war; story about hoax call and driving at night in fog to Petts Wood; further comments on problem of suspected spies; story of patient falling out of ambulance; description of ambulance crew and duties; examples of near misses encountered; story of home in Sidcup being bombed; description of air raids on Sidcup; opinion of air raid wardens.
REEL 4 Continues: description of work in scabies clinic; duties collecting refuse during quiet periods; story of seeing first V1 to hit London; opinion of morale and community spirit in local area; story about death of brother during war; further comments on bombing of home and rescue of sister and mother; story of neighbour helping to repair roof; psychological effects of the war; description of VE Day celebrations in London, 1945; story of talking to soldier who had been present at liberation of Belsen concentration camp.
REEL 5 Continues: question of lack of recognition for work of ambulance and rescue services; opinion of King’s call for a day of prayer, 28/Mar/1942; importance of religious faith; story about witnessing sign of the resurrection; description of casualties treated by the rescue services.
Over two million American servicemen passed through Britain during the Second World War. In 1944, at the height of activity, up to half a million were based there with the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF). Their job was to man and maintain the vast fleets of aircraft needed to attack German cities and industry.