English Nursing Sisters Critical to Victory in World War Two

 Establishing a field hospital in normandy days after Dday
THE BRITISH ARMY IN NORMANDY, JUNE 1944 (B 5859) A cheery party of Sisters of Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service with their baggage at No 88 General Hospital at La Delivrande, Normandy. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205129366
THE BRITISH ARMY IN THE NORMANDY CAMPAIGN 1944 (B 9222) A nurse attends to wounded soldiers in a field hospital, 15 August 1944. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205202480


ROYAL AIR FORCE: 2ND TACTICAL AIR FORCE, 1943-1945. (CL 310) The interior of one of the tented wards at No. 50 Mobile Field Hospital in Normandy. Sister M Griffiths helps one of the patients into his dressing-gown (right). Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205211654
THE BRITISH ARMY IN THE NORMANDY CAMPAIGN 1944 (B 5803) Royal Army Medical Corps nurses and women of the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS) carry a wounded soldier out of the operating tent at the 79th General Hospital at Bayeux, 20 June 1944. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205202025


THE BRITISH ARMY IN NORMANDY 1944 (B 5847) Women of Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMS) queue for their lunch at No 88 General Hospital at Douvres-la-Delivrande, 22 June 1944. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205924


THE BRITISH ARMY IN NORMANDY 1944 (B 5841) Women of Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMS) pose for a group photograph at No 88 General Hospital at Douvres-la-Delivrande, 22 June 1944. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205923


nursing british wounded in france during german invasion of june 1940 before dunkirk


WOMEN AT WAR 1939 – 1945 (TR 2163) Nursing: Half length portrait of a nursing sister of Queen Alexandra?s Imperial Military Nursing Service outside a field hospital in France. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205125325
nursing british and commonwealth troops in egypt
ROYAL AIR FORCE IN THE MIDDLE EAST, 1944-1945. (CM 6260) Airmen and n.c.o. patients resting on the balcony at No. 5 RAF General Hospital, Abassia, Egypt, attended by PMRAFNS Sisters Lindsay of Montrose (left), and D’Hondt of Hindhead, Surrey (right). Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205209137
ROYAL AIR FORCE MEDICAL SERVICES, 1939-1945. (CM 2410) Recently-arrived nursing sisters of the Princess Mary’s Royal Air Force Nursing Service gathered on the balcony of No. 5 RAF General Hospital, newly established at Abassia, Egypt. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205126790
Reykjavik Wasn’t the warmest POSting
PRINCESS MARY’S ROYAL AIR FORCE NURSING SERVICE, 1939-1945. (CS 330) Nurses relaxing in the Sister’s Mess of the RAF Hospital at Reykjavik, Iceland. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205207860
lots of snow in Reykjavik
ROYAL AIR FORCE COASTAL COMMAND, 1939-1945. (CS 354) Snowed-up technical huts and airfield at Reykjavik, Iceland, during a lull in the blizzard which hit the island between 21 and 27 February 1945. Consolidated Liberator GR Mark VIs of No.53 Squadron RAF are parked on the airfield. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205207862

BEF in France Prepares to Fight Huns

British Expeditionary Force sent to France beginning of World War Two


THE BRITISH ARMY IN FRANCE 1939 (O 3) Men of the 2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers disembarking at Cherbourg from the steamer ‘Royal Sovereign’, 16 September 1939. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205204991

Comments Charles McCain:  similar to to the BEF in World War One, the British Army sent to France was poorly equipped for modern warfare. Many reserve units of the Territorials were untrained. The Army had spent little time in combined arms training. It had the makings of a disaster and it was.


THE BRITISH ARMY IN FRANCE 1939-40 (O 576) Matilda Mk I tanks of 4th Royal Tank Regiment being transported by train from Cherbourg to Amiens, 28 September 1939. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205033

Comments Charles McCain: built by Vickers Armstrong and armed only with a machine gun, these tanks were designed only to support infantry and could hardly go head to head with an a tank as we think of them. Poorly designed, underpowered, lightly armoured, this was not a tank you wanted to be in. With a gasoline powered engine they easily “brewed up” when hit.

The driver of a Matilda I of 4th Royal Tank Regiment in France during the winter of 1939–40. This shows the cramped driver’s compartment and how the hatch obstructs the gun turret. Photo courtesy Imperial War Museum.

THE BRITISH ARMY IN FRANCE 1939 (O 165) Crews of 13/18th Royal Hussars work on their Mk VI light tanks in a farmyard near Arras, October 1939. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205007
THE BRITISH ARMY IN FRANCE 1939 (O 152) Men of 1st Border Regiment man a Bren gun set up in the back of a 15cwt truck at Orchies, 13 October 1939. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205004


Morris-Commercial 15cwt truck on a railway flat car at Arras, 3 January 1940 .  when evacuated from Dunkirk British forced to leave thousands of trucks

THE BRITISH ARMY IN FRANCE 1939 (O 129) A motorcycle despatch rider delivers a message to the signals office of 1st Border Regiment at Orchies, 13 October 1939. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205002

When the British transported the British Expeditionary Force to France they also transported a massive number of vehicles of every sort from tanks to staff cars to trucks to Bren carriers to motorcycles. The official history states that more than 60,000 vehicles were destroyed in combat or left behind on the beaches. The Germans were especially keen on the Bedford trucks.

*BEF vehicle losses in France 1940 from History of the Second World War, United Kingdom Military Series, The War in France and Flanders 1939-1940.


THE BRITISH ARMY IN FRANCE 1939-40 (O 617) A Morris CS9 armoured car of ‘C’ Squadron, 12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’ Own) receives attention parked in a farmyard at Villiers St Simon, 29 September 1939. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205037


Troops of the 1st Royal Berkshire Regiment, 2nd Division, checking the papers of civilians at Becun on the Franco-Belgian border, 10 October 1939. Imperial War Museum.  

Unfortunately, many Belgians were of German ancestry or allegiance. As they went back and forth across the border of Belgium and France they kept a keen watch on the various activities of the British and French armies. Once back home, they blabbed everything to the Germans.

During the retreat of the British Army to Dunkirk, the King of Belgium decided to surrender, which opened a gap in the lines forming the corridor British troops were using to retreat. He didn’t give the British a lot of notice. They felt a great bitterness toward the Belgians.

The late Lord Carrington, who served in the Guards Armoured Brigade in World War Two, said in his memoirs that as they went through Belgium in 1944 it was obvious “the Belgians had eaten their way through World War Two.”

THE BRITISH ARMY IN FRANCE 1939-40 (O 2288) The Grenadier Guards building breastworks on flooded ground at Hem, December 1939. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205065

Perhaps not the best use of the most elite regiment in the British Army. Typically this work was done pioneer battalions or Royal Engineers.


Tallest German surrenders to short soldier Second World War picture

Corporal Bob Roberts was overseeing the surrender of dozens of enemy soldiers during the Battle of Normandy when the 7ft 6ins German loomed into his view.
Tallest German surrenders to short soldier in World War Two picture


Cpl Roberts, who stood two feet below him at 5ft 6ins, had the daunting job of frisking the German lance corporal for weapons before taking him prisoner.

Out of shot of the photo, Cpl Robert’s comrades and even the captured German soldiers sniggered together at the sight of the little and large encounter.

It was a moment of lightness during the grim duty of war.

For just a few minutes before the picture was taken, Cpl Roberts faced a life-or-death duel with another German soldier who pulled out a pistol as he pretended to surrender.

Luckily, he raised his gun in the nick of time and shot the enemy soldier dead.


“But my mates who were watching the rest of the men saw this giant of a guy approach me and I was aware they and the Germans were having a good laugh.

“The Germans were saying that he was the tallest man in the German army, he was 7ft 6ins tall.

“My mates took some pictures of me with him with a camera they had taken from the Germans. Luckily he didn’t give me any aggravation…”

http://London Daily Telegraph: Tallest-German-surrenders-to-short-soldier-in-Second-World-War-picture



Three Wars Shot in Face, Head, Stomach, Ankle, Leg, Hip, and Ear Sir Carton de Wiart

CECIL BEATON PHOTOGRAPHS: POLITICAL AND MILITARY PERSONALITIES (IB 3449C) Political Personalities: Half length portrait of Lieutenant General Adrian Carton de Wiart VC, Mr Churchill’s special representative in Chungking. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205125075


The most decorated man in the British Army in the 20th Century or certainly close to it. Given the various medals handed out during wars, it is difficult to say who is the most decorated. But Lieutenant General Carton de Wiart is certainly in the top five most decorated soldiers of the British Army.


World War One. Carton de Wiart, center. Photo courtesy of London Daily Mail


http://wdailymail says de Wiart bio best-Wikipedia-entry-VC-winning-officer-shot-face-head-stomach-ankle-leg-hip-ear.html

Says Wikipedia: “He served in the Boer War, First World War, and Second World War; was shot in the face, head, stomach, ankle, leg, hip, and ear; survived two plane crashes; tunnelled out of a prisoner-of-war camp; and tore off his own fingers when a doctor refused to amputate them. Describing his experiences in the First World War, he wrote, “Frankly I had enjoyed the war.”

wikipedia.org/wiki/Adrian Carton de Wiart


In great britain, when something official is done it is said to have been “gazetted” since it appears in the official London Gazette. Carton’s Victoria cross was “gazetted’ ON 9 September 1916.
For the award of the Victoria Cross, La Boiselle, France, 2 – 3 July 1916, Captain ( T / Lieutenant Colonel ) Adrian Carton de Wiart, DSO, 4th Dragoon Guards, command 8th Bn, Gloucestershire Regiment.

For most conspicuous bravery, coolness and determination during severe operations of a prolonged nature. ( La Boiselle, France ).

It was owing in a great measure to his dauntless courage and inspiring example that a serious reverse was averted. He displayed the utmost energy and courage in forcing our attack home. After three other battalion Commanders had become casualties, he controlled their commands, and ensured that the ground won was maintained at all costs. He frequently exposed himself in the organisation of positions and of supplies, passing unflinchingly through fire barrage of the most intense nature.hIS GALLANTRY WAS INSPIRING TO ALL.

Adrian Carton de Wiart was invested with his Victoria Cross by King George V at Buckingham Palace on the 29th November 1916.



Lt. Gen. Carton de Wiart, oil on canvas, 1919. Courtesy National Portrait Gallery London.

THE BRITISH MILITARY MISSION TO POLAND, 1919-1921 (Q 92207) Major-General Adrian Carton de Wiart VC, the Chief of British Mission to Poland, on his charger. Photograph possibly taken in Lwów. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205335609


LIEUTENANT COLONEL ADRIAN CARTON DE WIART (Q 68300) Lieutenant Colonel Adrian Carton De Wiart VC KBE CB CMG DSO. Unit: 4th Dragoon Guards (Royal Irish), attached to 8th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment as Commanding Officer. Death: 5 June 1963. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205022089


Lieutenant Colonel Carton de Wiart was awarded the Victoria Cross for the following action: “On 2 July – 3 July 1916, at La Boisselle, France, Lieutenant-Colonel Carton de Wiart’s dauntless courage and inspiration averted what could have been a serious reverse. He displayed the utmost energy in forcing the attack home and after three other battalion commanders had become casualties, he controlled their commands and made sure that the ground was held at all costs. In organising the positions to be held, he exposed himself fearlessly to enemy fire.” Carton de Wiart was born in Belgium.

He joined the British Army and fought during the Boer War of 1899-1902, sustaining a serious chest wound. On the outbreak of the First World War, Carton de Wiart was serving with the Somaliland Camel Corps and engaged in suppressing a rebellion by Mohammed bin Abdullah’s Muslim forces. In an attack upon an enemy fort at Shimber Berris, Carton de Wiart was shot in the face, losing his left eye. He served on the Western Front from 1915, commanding three infantry battalions and a brigade. He was also seriously wounded seven times, losing his left hand in 1915.

Carton de Wiart spent the interwar years in Poland, serving with the British Military Mission between 1919 and 1921 and escaping the country as it was overrun by German and Soviet forces in 1939. He then served in Norway and was en route to take up a command in Yugoslavia when his aircraft was shot down. Carton de Wiart was taken prisoner by the Italians by whom he was released in 1943. He spent the remaining war years in the Far East, witnessing the Japanese surrender at Singapore. Carton de Wiart died in 1963.

www.iwm.org.uk/bio of carton de wiart

THE BRITISH ARMY IN NORWAY APRIL – JUNE 1940 (N 107) The Evacuation from Namsos 2-3 May 1940: British soldiers on the quay at Namsos awaiting evacuation. On the left is Major General Carton de Wiart. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205225966