ARMY NURSE CORPS NORMANDY MEMORIAL UNVAILING NORMANDY JUNE 8th 2012

BENNING WING
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BENNING WING
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November 22nd, 2011, 4:38 am #1

ARMY NURSE CORPS NORMANDY MEMORIAL UNVAILING
NORMANDY JUNE 8th 2012


The Army Nurses Living History Group supported by their parent Group, The First Allied Airborne Association, are organising, errecting and unvailing a memorial to the Army Nurses and medical staff of the 91st and 128th Evacuation hospitals in the village of Boutteville, Normandy on Friday 8th June 2012.

On the 26th November 1943 the 91st and 128th Evacuating Hospital Units arrived at Tortworth Court, near Bristol, this would be their new home untill deployed to Normandy France. Months of anxious waiting came to an end when the units sailed for the shores of Normandy on June 9th, 1944. Setting foot on Utah beach the next day.  The 128th is reported to have been the first Evacuation Hospital in Normandy, disembarked at 1530 hours, at Utah Beach on 10 June 1944 , setting up the next day near Boutteville, where it would stay until 22 June, Boutteville is about 6 miles from the coast and Utah Beach. Lt. Margaret B. Stanfill claimed the honor to be the FIRST 128th Army Evacuation Hospital Nurse to wade ashore in Normandy.

Nurses of he 91st and the 128th Evacuation Hospitals became the first members of the Army Nurses Corps to land on French soil during the Normandy Invasion. On the 11 June 1944, the 128th set up their hospital in the fields of a large farm in Boutteville,  It was followed later in the day by the 91st Evacuation Hospital.


91st Evacuating Hospital at Tortworth Court England
(Copywrite FAAA / Courtesy of the Norwich University Archives and Special Collections)



128th Evacuation Hospital at Tortworth Court England

Tortworth Court today




The 91st Evac hospital was operational by mid morning on June 12 and admitted 261 patients in the first half day of operation. Over the next seventeen days, the 91st alone cared for 2,142 patients and handled over six hundred surgical cases mostly from the 101st, and 82nd Airborne Divisions and the 4th Infantry Division.

The film clips below details the 128th Evac Hospital at Boutteville, the first clip below is a film made at the time to illustrate the role of a "generic" EVAC hospital, the film may very well be made up of various clips from other units in Normandy, however the clip between 54 and 60 is confirmed as the 128th at Bouteville, and the Dodge Ambulance can clearly be seen turning into the access road through the gate and driving down the track and turning left into the field passing the 128th Sign.  The gap in the tree line is still there today!

http://www.criticalpast.com/video/65675 ... n-Hospital

http://www.criticalpast.com/video/65675 ... of-patient

http://www.criticalpast.com/video/65675 ... tive-tents

http://www.criticalpast.com/video/65675 ... rld-War-II

http://www.criticalpast.com/video/65675 ... rld-War-II

http://www.criticalpast.com/video/65675 ... rld-War-II

http://www.criticalpast.com/video/65675 ... rld-War-II

http://www.criticalpast.com/video/65675 ... -mother-an

Officially the Normandy Army Nurses Memorial fund will be launched at the UK Stoneleigh Militaria show with a special large display depicting the Evacuation Hospitals in Normandy in June 1944, however the fund raising has been on going for some time with the FAAA undertaking a sponsored march and several fund raising evenings in Birmingham England.

In September the FAAA groups execs travelled to Normandy to meet with the mayor of Bouttiville and the son of the farmer who ownes the land on which both the 91st and 128th Evacuation Hospitals were set up.

A local British family living in Bouttiville have been our point of contact and have given us valuable assistance in organising the meetings we have had in Normandy and giving us the use of their holiday home to use as a base, we owe them a dept of gratitude as we could not have got this far without their help.


FAAA HQ Normandy




Locations are researched and plans are put together for the 8th June Memorial unvailing

Having met the people we needed to see to get permission to establish the memorial we were invited to meet up with the owner of the farm on who’s land and buildings were used to establish the large field hospitals.  Although the group had already done quite a bit of research on the location, some of it was we were to find out quite inaccurate!  However when we were on the actual land and being guided around by the owner’s son it became quite clear exactly where the two hospitals were located and why.  Jacques was a charming man who not only welcomed us onto his land but also into his house too; the house was of course central to the operation of the two Evac hospitals and from the outside had changed little since WWII.

Prior to the evening of the 5th June the house had been a billet for German Officers and part of the house yet to be restored and now used for storage had changed little inside since June 1944, in fact once in the area of the main Farm very little was different at all and one could very easily think we had gone back in time.


Hospital locations, A/B is the long barn with an arch under which vehicles could pass, the main farm house "C" can be seen below today and in June 1944, note the small sign indicating the 91st MED to the right!



 

Below Jacques directs us to where the 91st Evac hospital was located, this was due East of the farm and towards the bottom of the large field, Jacques points out the church tower in the village of Turqueville in the far distance as a reference point.  This has been identified as the main surgical area of the hospital with recieving and the admin areas towards the top part of the field near to the main entrance and the road




(Copywrite FAAA / Courtesy of the Norwich University Archives and Special Collections)




The pictures below show the entrance to the farm complex, it was through this gated (at the time) entrance that the vehicles of the 128th and 91st and later the collecting Company's drove through and in the case of the 128th turned sharp left between the gap in the trees as seen in the film clips above.





The aim is to erect a memorial in the form of a memorial plaque in English on the left hand stone gate post with a duplicate in French on the right hand gate post, if funds permits a memorial plaque will also be unveiled on our return from France at Tortworth Court to mark both Evacuation Hospitals stay in England before their deployment to Normandy

Wherever you go in Normandy, there are memorials to American Divisions, Regiments, platoons and individual Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen, however there is nothing to record and remember the input of the specialist nursing and medical teams from the hospitals that served there.

Join us in making history and rectifying this in justice.

The first Allied Airborne Association needs your help to raise enough cash to help cover the memorial plaques and individuals and groups to take part in the memorial day in Boutteville, Normandy on Friday 8th June 2012.

If you feel you or your group can help us please do get in touch, if you are in Normandy in June next year and able to make the Memorial day and especially feel you can make a contribution to the setting up and display of an element of the Evacuation Hospital on the actual site of the 91st Evec, again please do get in touch or pop along to the display at the Stoneleigh Militaria show in January.

All contributors to this project, either individual or collectively as a group will be registered in a book that will be presented to the Village of Boutteville at the memorial unveiling.



Regards to all

Lee Bowden & Amanda Ware
The First Allied Airborne Association


Thanks to Matt and Karen Knott for initial research, and the Norwich University Archives. USA for limited permission for the use of the original photographs which remain under US copyrite law.

Also a big thankyou goes also to the ‘Kings Arms’ Pub in Sutton Coldfield for support and fundraising, and the ‘Screaming Eagles’ Living History Group for their kind permission to allow part of the funds raised on the Airborne sponsored walk to go towards this project.
Last edited by BENNING WING on November 22nd, 2011, 9:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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BENNING WING
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November 28th, 2011, 3:18 pm #2

As we have been researching the 91st and 128th, I made contact with the the current chief of the Army Nurse Corp, asking for information. Her office put me in contact with the Army Nurse Corp Archiavist, who very kindly sent me a bit of info that we didn't know. This lady's name is LTC (P) Nancy Cantrell.

Nancy sent all the paperwork over England at no charge, and is continuing to research on our behalf. As a matter of courtesy, I emailed her a link to the information we have on the public part of the UK 's Group  forum about the memorial.

She came back today with the following response......

What a blessing you and your group are to our veterans! This is absolutely first class and I would love to help as much as possible. Please let me know when the Memorial ceremony will be, I would love to attend if at all possible.

Thank you for your wonderful work and devotion. I am archiving this in our AMEDD archives so your work will be remembered here, too.

Doesn't it make it worth while?

Amanda Ware
Chief Nurse
Army Nurses Living History Group
The First Allied Airborne Association
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TCUNC76
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November 28th, 2011, 7:54 pm #3

Lee :



Wow...that a ton of historical data & info there on this aspect of ETO US Army history.....great stuff...Battlefield medcine had come a long way even in 1944 since The First World War. Great effort by the FAAA to honor these folks who treated the wounded in WW II France ! Nice that the US Army is trying to help you here. Hope your memorial ceremony goes well on June 8th 2012.....great effort by your organization. Those photos & film links are great to look at ! Thanks for sharing !



TC
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BENNING WING
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November 30th, 2011, 4:06 am #4

Hi TC
Thanks for the kind words as always.  We are all hoping your pilgrimage to Normandy next year will be long enough to be able to be our guest at this event.  I am still trying to make contact with the guy now running the Magnaville Memorial day on the 4th June, so we can offer the Honor Guards services , however the original chap doing the organising has moved on and I don’t know at this time who to make contact with.

This project however is confirmed and will God willing take place on the 8th, we also hope to be able to support “Irish Dave” at his memorial unveiling on the 6th June if he needs us.

The various postings on here and on other forums have helped us promote what we are doing and highlight the outstanding job the Army Nurses and Medical staff did in all campaigns not only Normandy.

Recently I have been in contact with Don Burgett through his forum and he too has wished us well in our endeavours, as we all know Don was wounded himself in Normandy and went through one of the Field/Evac hospitals himself  (Hospital was set up right where the Utah Beach museum is now)

Through my correspondence with Don another contact was made with an English Guy who works at Tortworth house (91st/128th UK Base in 1944) whose grandfather served in A Company alongside Don, now that just goes to show what a small world this is.

Next year is going to be for us quite a year for memorials it would seem, on our return from France we will be involved in supporting another ANC /Medical Dept memorial unveiling, this time to the 2nd Evac Hospital based at Diddington near Cambridge, TC you will be happy to know this Unit while in England supported the 8th Army Air Force.

More updates to follow

Kind Regards

Lee  

 
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BENNING WING
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December 2nd, 2011, 11:01 am #5

FAAA wrote:The Boutteville memorial unvailing will be the conclution of a weeks long deployment to Normandy for the bulk of the First Allied Airborne Association, during which time the group will be involved in other memorial unvailing projects and battlefield tours using some of the groups fleet of Historic military vehicles.

The aim of the deployment is to carry out several battlefield tours, incorporating areas previously visited as well as new location covering post D-Day unit actions of the 9th Infantry Division especially the operations of the 60th Infantry Regiment.

The FAAA will also undertake several ceremonial tasks including its own memorial to the Army Nurse Corps, although this will be the main focus of the tour and will take place on Friday the 8th June the group are supporting a major memorial unvailing on the 6th June.

The duration of the tour will be from Saturday 2nd June to Saturday 9th June inclusive.

The plan (Subject to detail planning and change) is to deploy Saturday AM in group Military Vehicles from home CP's and RV at a now confirmed location very near Portsmouth to transload to Military vehicles.  The Group will take an Overnight crossing from Portsmouth to Caen, arriving early AM on the Sunday.  The group will move up the Coast via British and American battlefields, key points of interest and Cemeteries.

The group will arrive around early afternoon on the 3rd June , book in, move into and prep billet, before standing down, visiting the pool and bar.

The remainder of the tour will carry on from there, the detail of which is still in the planning stages, but will include the following.


2nd June---From Caen to Utah--- Coastal tour.
3rd/4th/5th June----Battlefield tours
5th June------Evening---Ste Mare Eglise
6th June ---Ravenoville/Ste Mare Eglise
7th June----R&R and Memorial Day prep
8th June ---ANC Memorial unveiling.
9th June---6th Airborne Tour


The Groups Billet is walking distance to the UTAH Beach museum and memorials and the beach and fortifications the 4th Infantry Division fought through is 100 yards North of our base camp.

Below are pictures taken during our recce:


Booking in Office and Tourist information.

The following are shots of the Billet from the main entrance to the camp, in the background is UTAH Beach







The billets own BBQ Area



Plenty of secluded parking for the Military Vehicles





The Billet is broken down into one main room sleeping 10 with 5 other rooms sleeping 4









The billet also contains ablutions including toilets, sinks and showers



Also there is a fully fuctional mess hall.





The base camp provides all we as a group needs for 6 nights.  The complex also has availble to us, a Swimming Pool, Sauna, Restraunt, Pizza outlet, bakery and a Bar.

The Billet will sleep 30 Troops, however we are realistically looking at housing around 25 to allow for room for the group stores .

The accomodation is now booked and secured, however there is still much planning to do and the final design of the memorial Plaque has still to be confirmed and priced up, however things are now falling into place.

If there are UK/US groups and Individuals planning on being in Normandy up untill and including the 8th June and would like to attend the Boutteville memorial unvailing please do make contact.

Regards

Lee Bowden
First Allied Airborne Association
Last edited by BENNING WING on December 2nd, 2011, 11:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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BENNING WING
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January 22nd, 2012, 2:37 am #6

US ARMY NURSES NORMANDY MEMORIAL FUND LAUNCH

The Army Nurses of the FAAA will be undertaking a large indoor display at the UK largest Militaria fair at Stoneleigh Coventry, to launch the fund raising to erect a memorial to the WWII US Army Nurses who supported the invasion of Northern France in June 1944.

Many of the UK collectors and Living Historians on this Forum attend the Militaria Fair at Stoneleigh.  Although the attempts to raise money for this memorial have been on going towards the later part of 2011, it will really be at Stoneleigh with the support and permission of the show organiser that we will be making a serious attempt at raising the sum we have already collected through sponsorship.

It is hoped that if the majority attending Stoneleigh, regardless of WWII interest will consider donating £1 to the fund so that we can raise enough to not only completely finance the Normandy Memorial but to have a little left over to work on a duplicate to be unveiled at the 91st and 128th Evac Hospitals UK training location just outside Bristol. 

This we know is a lot to ask as most people will need that last £1 to seal the deal of the year at the fair, but if we even get half what we could dare to ask for we will be well on our way to ensuring we have the funds for the June 2012 unveiling.

There will be a large field Hospital display in Hall 1, please do drop by to see what it is all about, if nothing else we will have some nice vehicles and equipment on display and some pictures as yet un published of a little know place in Normandy.

Everyone who donates a £1 or more will have their name and Unit details entered into the donation book which will be presented to the major of Bouteville in June.

Please consider helping us to raise the remaining funds we need.

Regards
Lee & Amanda
Unit Coordinators
FAAA & ARMY NURSES LHG
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BENNING WING
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January 22nd, 2012, 2:48 am #7

Stoneligh Militaria 2012 -----28th/29th January.

The next main event for the First Allied Airborne Association will be the Stoneligh Militaria 2012 event which will take place over the weekend 28th/29th January.

With the major Normandy deployment in the summer looming we are now ready to launch the Army Nurses Normandy Memorial Fund and start promoting our project and highlight what we are doing in the lead up to the deployment and what we are doing over there. We need to go "High Profile" and that will start at Stoneleigh where just about everyone who is in this hobby congregates at the start of the year.

The Aim therefore is to establish a large display with the combined efforts of the Army Nurses and the Troops of the First Allied Airborne Association.  The display is to be based on what the Ladies did at the last event but bigger (we got one small wall and a shelter free-standing, so we can get several) and would represent the 91st/128 Evac Hospital at Bouttiville, this will be supported by the FAAA troops representing casualties from the 82nd and 101st Airborne Division and the 4th Infantry Division and everything in between in regards to units who came through these Hospitals shortly after D-Day.  Also we hope to cover an MP Detail and Corpsmen, Drivers and Doctors from the Guys.

As you can see it has the makings of a large display, like nothing we have done before inside.

We have been allocated a large display area, 60 feet by 20 feet if we need it, along with a table top /picture board display in the main entrance.

The display will be based on what the Army Nurses did at the last Stoneleigh event, however it will be 4 x as big and will include vehicles, tentage and stores and hopefully up to 25 group members, split between the Hospital staff and casualties.

Initial commitment to the event is looking good, the TOE for the event is below, all efforts are now focused on this event.

91st/128th Evacuation Hospital

A WARE----------------ANC Nurse
L BOWDEN-------------ANC Nurse
J LEES------------------ANC Nurse
B TIPPET---------------ANC Nurse
B BOWRING------------ANC Nurse
C TITMUSS------------ANC Nurse
E TITMUSS------------ANC Nurse
L TITMUSS------------ANC Nurse
R BOWRING------------Doctor 
T SMART---------------Doctor
S HARRISON----------Chaplain
M NOTT-----------------Corpsman
M SLESSER------------Corpsman
G WARE----------------Corpsman---Cas Sim
LM BOWDEN-----------Corpsman---Dodge/Trailer
G DAINTER-------------Corpman
J TITMUSS------------Motor Pool---GMC/DODGE 6X6's



Casualties / Other duties


T LEES---------------82nd Paratrooper casualty----IC Casualties
J EVANS-------------82nd Paratrooper casualty
K BUNTING----------82nd Paratrooper Casualty
T PARKER-----------101st Paratrooper Casualty
B GREENING--------101st Paratrooper Casualty
P CARPENTER-------101st Paratrooper Casualty
J MAWER-------------4th Infantry Casualty
F SOMERVILLE ------4th Infantry Casualty
M WRING------------4th Infantry Casualty


26

June 15th 1944
In every battlefield there is sometimes a little corner of peace and quiet, a safe haven away from the heat and roar of battle that none the less sees a horror of its own .. Im talking about the field hospitals .. Im talking in particular about the one I find myself at right now ... the 91st Evac Field Hopsital where we find that rarity in a war situation, females, nurses .. women who have come out from their homes in the States to serve on the battlefields, to bring comfort to the wounded and dying, to bring a bit of home, sanity and peace to the horror that is war.

They go about their work, shutting out the sights and sounds they see, mangled bodies, broken or lost limbs putting what is in front of them daily to the backs of their minds, more concerned with showing a brave face to the men they tend to make them feel better, to keep up their morale .. to quietly perhaps cry a little for them too when they are on their own, in private to let the grief out in order that when they go on duty again they can smile, laugh a little, joke with their boys, talk with them, read a letters or write one, comfort them, all as much a part of the healing process as the medications and dressings they use to repair those broken bodies.

They are nurses first, women second, they are nurses first, soldiers second, dressed is shapeless uniforms unflattering shirts jackets and pants that do little to show their femininity, and yet feminine they are and feminine they remain, what a boost it must be to healing for a wounded possibly maimed soldier to wake up to a warm smiling face, soft spoken words and a comforting touch, something they give to every patient and yet that every individual soldier feels is only for him, such is the ability of these women ... mothers, daughters, sisters, wives ... who unswervingly dedicate themselves to this sad, heart wrenching, oft times thankless job.

As a writer I dont have to be here, unlike the soldier on the front line, or the nurses in this hospital I can leave anytime I like, but if we did, if the writers, photographers chose to do that, who then, how then would the world know, the folks back home know the true story of the heroism of these women who in their own way are as much a part of this war as the frontline soldier and who as much as the fronline soldier does, will help us win this war and make the eventual peace a happier place for the wounded they have seen through this and other hospitals ..

Allen Ambridge
United Press
Normandy




















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BENNING WING
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January 22nd, 2012, 3:13 pm #8

Proposed programe of events for the FAAA's Draft Normandy deployment are as follows:


2nd June--RV Portsmouth. Cross load to Military Vehicles--Ferry crossing--OUT--1445Hrs--ARRIVE FRANCE --2130hrs--ETA base camp 2330hrs.
3rd June--Late start--Base camp admin. Move to La Fiere Bridge Drop Zone/1330 Hrs Parachute drop, La Fière Bridge/Evening in SME.
4th June----82nd & 101st US Airborne Divisions Tour / Exercise Wide Awake
5th June---4th Infantry Division and 9th Infantry Division Tours----Evening---Ste Mare Eglise
6th June ---Ravenoville Memorial / Evening in Ste Mare Eglise
7th June----R&R and Memorial Day prep
8th June ---ANC Memorial unveiling.
9th June---American Beach Tour / 6th Airborne Tour--Pegasus Bridge--PM Return Home--OUT 1630Hrs--ARRIVE UK-- 2115Hrs


3rd June/AM--Recce team---EXECS / Squad Leaders to Ravenoville/Boutiville. (2X Jeeps)

7th June /AM---Army Nurses EXECS to Boutiville. (2X Jeeps)

The above is a frame work of activities; the Memorial days will be coverned by the timings of the event, travel time and of course rehearsals required.
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BENNING WING
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February 22nd, 2012, 9:22 am #9

At the end of January the FAAA attended the 2012 Stoneleigh Militaria fair here in England where the Group headed up by the Army Nurses Section won the best display trophy.

The display launched the Army Nurses Normandy Memorial Fund which was very succesfull in raising quite a bit of cash.

A full report will be produced once kit is stowed away and the team have rested and got their pictures in.

Below is is just a snap of the set up midway through establishing the display and the winners trophy, please bear in mind this display is set up indoors.

Lee





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BENNING WING
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February 22nd, 2012, 9:25 am #10

4th Draft of the proposed memorial plaque can be seen below:



This artist impression will be run off and enlarged to take to France next month for a final approval of the Mayor of Boutiville and Jacque the land owner.

The memorial plaque is quite large and heavy, the shipping costs alone are quite high, we are getting to our target figure to cover both the memorial and shipment but still need further help to raise what we need, we will be going all out at the Bunker Bash to cover our overall costs if we can.

If any Individual or group would like to contribute and have their groups name added to the list in the memorial book we will be presenting to the Village please drop us a line and I will put you in contact with OC Army Nurses.

Any surplus to our needs will be going towards a second memorial to the two Evacuation Hospitals, to be unveiled here in England to mark the 70th Anniversary of their departure for Normandy

Regards to all

Lee
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