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Jean Ambler, nee Bracher, visited the Americans at Frenchay Hospital in 1944...





My wartime work was in an office at the Bristol Aeroplane Co. One lunch-time a lady came to give us a talk on what the Red Cross were doing in the Bristol area, and asking for volunteers. We first worked at 'The Seamen's Mission' in Park Street, talking to and entertaining seamen who had been torpedoed and lost their ships.


We were asked to visit one of the seamen at the USA Hospital at Frenchay. The Americans had taken over this hospital as so many of their troops were being injured in France.


Armed with the necessary passes, my sisters and myself arrived at the hospital. Never will I forget what we saw - wards full of wounded men, others in wheelchairs with arms and legs missing, whizzing along the corridors. The 'Battle of the Bulge' had just started so casualties were high.


As there were few American nurses there at that time, they welcomed us. We wrote letters, played cards, or just talked to them. One letter I wrote was for a young man who had been blinded; he was an only son and had five sisters. He was 21.


One afternoon a doctor asked for my help. For some reason they could not give this young soldier any 'ether', but wanted to take shrapnel out of his arm; it was like a piece of meat. They asked me to sit and talk to him while they pulled the shrapnel out. He screamed, I cried, but we got through. I even remember his name: Robert L Brincell from New York.


What brave men. I often wonder what happened to them and hope they survived the war.


The above memory was received from Jean Ambler, nee Bracher, in July 2007.

Thank you, Jean.