Lorna Kite (b.1916): Biographical Entry

KITE, Lorna. Title: ‘Mentioned in Despatches; WWII As Seen Through the Eyes of a Nurse.’ Typescript. 141.pp. Brunel University Library.

Narrator (Lorna) born in India, trained as nurse in London. Qualified 1938. Joined Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service. She was a theatre sister.

Worked in Milbank Military Hospital. Then in Sept. 1939. sent to Edinburgh. Ordered to France. Worked at Casualty Clearing Station. Chaotic conditions. Defence of Arras. Hospital train to La Baulle, the Base Hospital. Evacuated to Southampton. Was at Bovington camp. Treatment of POWs. Netley Hospital. Air Raids on Southampton.

The hospital ship voyages – to South Africa, Freetown, Cape Town, East London; India – Bombay; and Middle East – Suez, Aden, Tobruk, Cairo.

Based for a while at Hospital in Cairo.

Describes types of medical treatment, patients. Also social life – relationships between nurses and men, including married men – sometimes did not know they were married; instance of Bigamy; and narrator was due to be married but discovered her fiancé to already be married. A friend had to be nursed after a dangerous, illegal abortion.

Tense military situation in Cairo. Rommel was advancing. Preparations made to evacuate Cairo and the Canal Zone – narrator volunteered to stay and nurse the bedridden if this happened. But this was avoided – second battle of El Alamein; memories of ‘Monty,’ Field Marshall Montgomery.

Hospital ship to Tripoli. Visited Roman ruins at Sabratha. Was now with Eighth Army but also met other troops, such as Basato troops from South Africa, and Free French.

Ship to Taranto, Italy.

In 1947 posted to Germany with the BAOR (British Army of the Rhine). Was Deputy Matron at Wuppertal.

Germany was devastated in 1947. Immense destruction. Food very scarce for civillians. Black market. Incidence of alcoholism. Shortage of foreign currency.

Visited Essen and Dusseldorf. Was near to Celle and Hohne – Belsen.

Visited Luxemburg and Hanover.

Posted to Berlin. This was during air lift. City divided to Zones.

Back to Aldershot for training in midwifery.

Then posted back to Germany – Iserlohn.

Left service when she got married.

Main Themes.

Experiences of a nurse in World War II. She worked on hospital ships, in Middle East, in Italy with Eighth Army, and in post-war Germany.

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