Bandaging the Blitz by Phyll MacDonald-Ross and I D Roberts
Why would anyone want to know about me, dear? she said.
|Bandaging the Blitz by Phyll MacDonald-Ross and I D Roberts
|Reviewer: Louise Jones
|Summary: The memoir of a determined young trainee nurse who served at a London hospital during the Blitz.
|Date: August 2015
Everyone has an interesting story to tell. Yet how many life stories actually make it into printed form, perhaps because the individuals involved did not feel that anyone would be interested in their lives? This was almost the case for Phyllis Macdonald-Ross, who served as a nurse in a busy London hospital during the Blitz. It was only thanks to her determined grandson and devoted husband that she finally decided to put her memoirs down on paper and submit them for publication. The result is an exciting and emotional coming-of-age story about a young nurse entering her training during one of the most turbulent times in British history.
Phyllis, or 'Phyll' as she liked to be called, was a dedicated and devoted trainee, back in the days where Matron would run a tight ship and strict ward sisters were not to be disobeyed. Work was hard for the new recruits, yet Phyll found great happiness and instant camaraderie with her fellow-trainees Mac and Eddie who would sneak into each other's rooms for a quick 'drinkie' and a smoke after hours to share stories and have a giggle together.
The friends also managed to carve out time for recreation and romance too. Despite Phyll's initial reluctance, a young soldier was completely smitten with her and would not give up easily. Their romance is one of the highlights of the book and I soon learned to have my tissues handy whenever I started a new chapter!
The stories of bravery during the Blitz were inspiring. We usually think of war heroes as being our soldiers who served abroad, but we should not forget that there were also heroes that served here at home, tending to the many injured people caught up in the relentless bombings. Sometimes, even the hospital itself was a target and these brave nurses and doctors would have to go about their work whilst plaster fell down around them and ceilings shook ominously with each thundering boom. Indeed, one of the first stories in the book was about how Phyll delivered a baby during a bombing raid in the London Underground. Her calm manner and professional approach gave her patients confidence that everything would be alright, even in the darkest times.
Phyllis hoped that by recording her story, she would inspire others to take up nursing. She has done an admirable job extolling the virtues and blessings of serving in such a caring occupation and no doubt her warm enthusiasm will encourage members of the next generation to follow her example. I didn’t want the book to end and can only hope that there will be a sequel, as there was no epilogue to explain how things eventually worked out for Phyll and where her nursing career took her next. I'm sure she had plenty more stories to tell...
Readers will also enjoy Sixty Years a Nurse by Mary Hazard the life story of one of our longest serving nurses.
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You can read more book reviews or buy Bandaging the Blitz by Phyll MacDonald-Ross and I D Roberts at Amazon.com.
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