National Nurses Week
Following our recent posts about the Fire Service and the RUC during the Blitz, today marks the beginning of #Nationalnursesweek and so we are sharing some information about nurses during the Blitz.
A wing of the Ulster Hospital on Templemore Avenue was struck by high explosives and caught fire during the Easter Tuesday Raid on the 15th/16th April and the patients were all safely evacuated.
Three weeks later during the Fire Raid of the 4th/5th May the hospital found itself in the centre of a badly hit area in east Belfast. The hospital was hit again but fortunately the patients were elsewhere after their evacuation on Easter Tuesday. At the moment of impact however an ambulance had just arrived and was caught in the blast, further injuring the patients it was carrying.
Elanor Elizabeth Aicken, 37, a Matron at the hospital was recommended for her devotion to duty during the Fire Raid.
In addition, the ambulance depot on the Holywood Road was hit by a high explosives during the Easter Tuesday Raid, burying those inside and during the Fire Raid the same depot again was hit.
Auxiliary Nurse, Denise Forster, 21 and Stretcher Bearer, Samuel Campbell, 45 both received recommendations for their rescue work and devotion to duty at the depot on the 4th May 1941.
Despite these incidents, no nurses are known to have been killed in the line of duty during the Blitz and only one Red Cross stretcher bearer is known to have been killed;
Thomas Harvey, 39
Injured 16 April 1941 at Percy Street and Tyne Street and died at Royal Victoria Hospital on the 8 May 1941.