Taken outside St Nicholas’s Hospital about 1958 (sometimes known as Newcastle upon Tyne City Asylum). It was in Jesmond and was a very big Mental institution. Nurse Elizabeth visited as part of nurse Pre-Training School (age 18/19).
Pre-student nursing 16.5 started a taster in nursing at Shotley Bridge. Paid 10s/week. Wore a white dress, white apron, and a white cap navy cape with red lining, white hat, black stockings and black shoes. You were just skivvies really, made bed, cleaned lockers and screened, washed patients. An introduction to nursing, did night duty. Started training properly in the April when she turned 18. Uniform was blue with a white apron.
A photo of my mum when she was a nursing sister in Borneo. I think that she looks fantastic, but she did not like the hat because it would flip over and cover your face if you bent forward. She preferred that hats the Sister’s used to wear in England which were frilly. The photo was taken at the bottom of the garden, near the Cottage Hospital, Keningau (sometime between 1967-9).
“The babies always smelt dusty. The lady stood beside me is Gloria Waters, who was a VSO with her husband, who was something to do with the water industry. The natives always respected you, both in Borneo and in the Solomon’s. We were always treated well”.
The Baja Boy is dying, that’s what they said to me,
And they took me by the hand and led me there to see.
To where he sat on seat of mat, still and very cold ,
At just one, year the wizened face of a man so very old.
Silent, rounded, swollen eyes staring way past me,
Flies crusted round his nose and hands.
He did not move, he could not move just stared across the sands,
With milk, with food, with tender care, him surely we can save .
It seemed after all, only fair, that a tiny boy so brave.
So we resolved at least to try to save this little one
But when we came back just four hours past
The baja boy had gone
David Ellaway, 1985 (d. 2005)
Ambulance driver with the Emergency British Red Cross Team in Ethiopia, with Sister Elizabeth Caswell (1974)
My amazing mum was part of the British Red Cross Emergency Rescue team who went out to Ethiopia in 1974, during a terrible famine. Here she is in a ‘pop up’ clinic, in the middle of the Danakil desert (the hottest place on earth).
“That day we set up a clinic and I had measured out some gentian violet and then a dust storm blew up. You had to squat down and cover your head, I put a sharma (white shawl) over my head. You just had to wait it out. When the sandstorm blew away, a goat had drunk all of my gentian violet.”, Sister Elizabeth Caswell, July 1974.