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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 11, Number 4, December 2017
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Patricia Prime
Auckland, New Zealand


Pack Up Your Troubles

After the war ex-servicemen returned to their homes and families, although some who had experienced trauma or injury were sent directly to hospital. In our area of London there was a large hospital to which returned servicemen were sent.

As a child, I remember seeing men blinded during the war marching in single file along the road, holding on to a length of string held by a nurse. Men hopping along on crutches or those who were heavily bandaged, or with limbs in plaster, walked to the shops to buy cigarettes, sweets and newspapers, while some begged for money from passers-by outside the underground station.

The hospital had several balconies overlooking the street and the men’s beds were carried outside so they could enjoy the sunshine. Occasionally, we’d see someone on a trolley being moved into another part of the building of hear voices, cries or laughter from the gardens as we took a short cut down an alleyway at the side of the hospital that we called “The Kissing Gates”.

My father owned a tailor’s shop in the high street and soldiers, airmen and sailors would go there to have their clothes altered, as many of them had lost weight and their civvies no longer fitted them.

My parents forbade us to have anything to do with the men, but as we passed the hospital on the way to the park, we’d call out greetings to them and they’d wave back at us.

chill winter sunset
nurses bring in the beds

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