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Caring on the Home Front - Volunteer memories from World War Two

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Story of a wounded man

The story of a wounded man Men were sometimes rushed to base hospitals by air for major operations or sometimes the operation was brought to the man, as in: ‘The Story of a Wounded Man’ that appeared in the booklet: Humanity Keeps an appointment, Joint War Organisation, 1943. The profits from the sale of the booklet went to the Duke of Gloucester’s Red Cross and St John Fund. The story was based on the actual experience of a private in the Tunis campaign.

The following story was told:

1. Private D is wounded. A Comrade gives him an emergency dressing.

2. One of the R.A.M.C. stretcher bearers was trained by St. John Ambulance Brigade in peacetime.

3. From the advanced dressing station to the advanced surgical centre.

4. Two hours after receiving his wound he is on the operating table.

5. The operation is over. Pjamas, toilet things and mosquito netting come from Red Cross stores.

6. In a base hospital, a Red Cross welfare worker writes letters for him.

7. Private D sails for home. He reads books supplied by the Red Cross Hospital Library Service.

8. A Red Cross liaison officer finds accommodation near the hospital for Private D’s mother.

9. One of Provate D’s nurses is a VAD, trained by the Red Cross.

10. Private D is now in a Red Cross home. He makes baskets from materials supplied by the Stores Department.

11. At a Red Cross ‘rehabilitation’ home, Army P.T. experts are making Private D fighting fit.

12. Thanks to the R.A.M.C. and the supplementary care of the Red Cross, Private D is restored to health.

A man wounded in Tunisia wrote of his experiences of the Red Cross services in a letter:

‘Within half an hour of being wounded at Mareth I was smoking Red Cross cigarettes. I was taken back to the casualty clearing station, where my battledress had to be cut off and my personal belongings in the various pockets were all put into a Red Cross bag. A few hours later I was in a pair of Red Cross pyjamas… At Tripoli I had my first shave for 10 days with a razor blade, shaving brush, soap and mirror, also toothpaste and toothbrush, all supplied by the Red Cross…

I was taken to the cinema in a Red Cross wheel chair – sometimes to a show arranged by the Red Cross.

On the ship coming home the Red Cross was there again. It seems that the capacity of the Red Cross for doing good work is unlimited.’