New people suddenly arrived in Salisbury
I was here before Odstock Hospital. I remember the GIs, they had money. We had chickens. At one point my husband was driving an ambulance foe the Yanks. He even went as far as Swindon
I was a landgirl I loved it, anything to keep me outside… I remember them being around (the Americans),they were exciting. I went on the buses as a conductor too.
I remember the Americans were all over the steps, the terraces in Tisbury and of course all the children were buzzing around and they gave us chocolate, we’d never seen the like before. My mother was furious, Americans were still strangers.
We were used to the Americans being around. But I really remember when they went. All of a sudden, the town would be silent,it was eerie. You had no notice, they just went.
They would never have thought in a million years that they would be remembered would they? And they should be. Look at those smiling faces. How extraordinary to see these images, to think of these men.
Recalling the old buildings
My father helped build this place he helped take the loads off the trains and brought them up here on a lorry, hauling stuff he was, bless him. He was a WW1 veteran and he had 3 good references but that was all he could get to do. He was a qualified man and it wasn’t much money.
I remember the old nissen huts up here, the wind whipped in, blimey the most exposed hill in Salisbury! I was in hospital in bed next to an RAF chap and I bumped into him a few years later and blow me I ended up marrying his sister!
I worked in the War Department, typing and copying at Wilton House.. a nissen hut at Wilton House but it felt very grand going through the gates. We had a pot bellied stove. It was not glamorous though and postwar in the’50’s was dull, drab, no wonder we had the 1960’s…
Delicious & different foods
I remember a big bowl of doughnuts, the Americans they had this big bowl, my first doughnut.
They had peanut butter and put jam on everything and custard, custard on their dinner!
We would go dancing at The Assembly Rooms above what is now Waterstones,or the Medina Café at the cheese market where the library is now.
On the day rationing ended in 1954 my boss gave me £1 and the afternoon off to go and eat sweets. He was so kind.
I was working in a store in London on D-Day.We heard all this commotion and rumbling as tanks and vehicles came along the street.We all dashed out and gave out cups of tea and cigarettes to the soldiers.My friend slipped her address into one of those packets.Well of course after the war she married the soldier who got that packet!
Memories stretched across times and generations
I used to deliver to the Common Cold Unit…I’d arrive at 8 in the morning and Betty at the gate bungalow would have the kettle on… we used to laugh if we had a sneeze after going there…
Read more about the Common Cold Hospital http://salisburyhealthcarehistory.uk/harvard-hospital-common-cold-unit/
Staff recalled their connections
I remember when I started working here in 1982 the Burns Unit was on the edge of the site. The helicopter landing pad was next to it and the landing site was marked out with a few planks in a cross shape. I can remember, at the main entrance from the road, there were fuel tanks on the left hand side.
The nursing staff accommodation, Nadder and Ebble where I lived, was one of those marked 52 on the military map.
I remember I took photos of the Nissan huts when I first started, as it was worth recording. I also remember the Chief Exec fought hard to keep the Burns Unit as a special unit before it became a ward.
I started working here in 1987 and my work included spinal x-ray and isolation wards. I remember the corridors between general wards were open to the outside with just a roof on them.
The project revealed a deeply held connection between people and their hospital through generations of local families.
These memories were scribed onto specially commissioned postcards that commemorated the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings. From the 7 days of sessions over 60 postcards were collected along with 26 further extended tales. ArtCare took part in the 2019 National Armed Forces Day celebrations in Salisbury and we took our archive boxes and displayed them alongside the collected stories.