Ruth Sims

Photo:Ruth Sims (first from left, standing) pictured with her colleagues at the Metropolitan Hospital, Kingsland Road, Hackney in 1943. The Matron is dressed in Territorial Army uniform.

Ruth Sims (first from left, standing) pictured with her colleagues at the Metropolitan Hospital, Kingsland Road, Hackney in 1943. The Matron is dressed in Territorial Army uniform.

Ruth Sims

Memories of wartime nursing.

Mildmay Memorial Hospital

Two weeks before the outbreak of war, at the age of 17, Ruth Sims (nee Emmett) enrolled as a nurse at the Mildmay Memorial Hospital, Newington Green. At the outbreak of war Ruth was with her colleagues sent to Whipps Cross Hospital ‘whose 1000 beds were almost all unoccupied in anticipation of air raid casualties and we had little to do other than to construct splints’. After a few weeks the trainee nurses returned to Mildmay.

A day out

Whilst recovering from an appendectomy Ruth stayed with family friends in Hounslow. Having been out for the day Ruth was on her way back to Hounslow when the air raid sirens sounded and the journey was cancelled:

‘Another lady and I started to walk over Bedfont Common, or rather under it through tunnels, in the din of the anti-aircraft guns situated there...The lady invited me to spend the rest of the night in her home, nearby, and there I slept with her and her husband, all fully-clothed, on their bed which had been brought downstairs. When dawn came they showed me the direction to take and I walked back to Hounslow... There had been no means of telling my mother where I was...and I was shocked to realise afterwards that I had no idea where I had spent the night or who with!’

'A welcome break'

Ruth completed the second part of her General Nursing training at the Metropolitan Hospital, Kingsland Road.  The nurses at the hospital were by reason of a philanthropic aristocratic family able to have a week long holiday at a country house in Bedfordshire. ‘A few days in the peaceful countryside made a welcome break from the rather eventful environment of East London.’

The Salvation Army Mothers' Hospital

Towards the end of the war, after completing her training as a nurse, Ruth began to train as a Midwife at The Salvation Army Mothers’ Hospital, Lower Clapton Road.  She recalls how ‘at the Hospital the patients were accommodated at night in purpose-built tunnels in the grounds, with beds for mums and long shelves for babies. The cacophony of sound was unbelievable!’    

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Ruth Sim's wartime experience in her own words.
Ruth Sim's wartime experience in her own words. (65k)
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This page was added by Malin Lundin on 14/03/2012.

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