Monday, December 4, 2017

Thames (NZ): World War Two years at Thames

In the New Year, the talk will be finally over and at last after years of putting it off, I am beginning my next major project to record the 1939-1945 years at Thames.

If you are reading this and happen to have, or know someone who has photographs of Thames during this period, particularly related to the war effort, please can you let me know.

Remember, there is an ongoing attempt to gather names for the Thames WWII ROH.  Again, you may know someone who is not on the list - I need your help!

A gem that turned up this week surfaced at our Thames Hospital 150 meeting - special thanks to Nancy for her treasure trove of goodies!

The Nurses Christmas Journal Thames Hospital was published by a group of staff in December 1945. A copy belonging to Audrey Kallu (later Comer) is photographed on the right.

There are several mentions to the war in the journal. For instance in May 1945, six nurses from Thames Hospital took part in a fundraising event held by the committee of the Thames Patriotic Fund. Entrants dressed in jockey attire and took part in wooden horse races along the main street one Friday night.

On the evening of August 15 1945, the nurses gathered in the Social Hall at the Nurses' Home to celebrate VJ - Victory Japan - Peace had finally been declared.

The following day, the nurses borrowed the Engineer's truck, and a truck from Donkin's Garage. They decorated both vehicles, so that they could take part in a decorated car parade that was being held down the Thames main street. One vehicle was a serious take on 'Peace', while the second vehicle depicted an 'operation under difficulties'. After the parade there was a bonfire, and the nurses arrived back at the hospital at 9pm, exhausted but totally pleased with their efforts that day.

Hopefully over the following months, we may find some photographs to accompany these stories. Alas due to the hard times back at home, a camera was very much a luxury and in scarce supply.
December 1945 Advertisement in the Thames Hospital Nurses' Journal.