When I first entered the service we had basic training, the same as the men had. When they put us on the wards we had to get up at five o’clock in the morning and doing the basic exercises and so forth and then you went on duty at seven o’clock. You worked seven to seven with two hours off. You always had one afternoon a week and at the end of the month you had two days off. On night duty, if you worked nights you worked from seven pm to seven am with no time off. You were supposed to have a half hour for supper but you could never leave your ward because you didn’t have time to really. We were sent overseas, like I said, in December. Went to Scotland, down across England, and then down to France where we were stationed at a general hospital in a small town about the size of Hudson [MA], I would say, in Chalons-sur-Marne, France on the Marne River. And it didn’t make any difference what you had done in civilian life they would assign you to most anything in the army, but I discovered they found out I had done night supervisor for three years and all of a sudden I was on night duty [laughs]. And night duty was twelve-hour duty, no time off. You worked from seven am to seven pm and if there was any classes or anything you were supposed to go to you had to go during the day with no sleep. Just no time off for night nurses.
Bolton, MA resident, Ruea Baum, shared her memories of serving as a United States Army nurse in England and France during World War II from September 1944 to July 1946. She retired from the military as a 1st Lieutenant and recalls the German surrender and marching in the Eisenhower parade. She was born in 1921 and recently celebrated her 96th birthday.