Dorothy Phyllis Dart.

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Dorothy Phyllis Dart (2 May 1917 - 26 Sep 1960) - QAIMNSR

It is not surprising, considering her parents careers, that my mother chose a career in nursing. Her initial training started on 25 February 1935 a couple of months before her 18th birthday at Stourbridge General Hospital. In the May on 1938 her training was completed and she became a State Registered Nurse No. 94143.

She enrolled as a Sister in the Queens Alexandra Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserve on 17 April 1944 as a Sister. As such she was granted an officer's commission on 1 May 1944, recorded in the London Gazette of 18 July 1944.  (At the time of her enrolment she was working as an industrial nurse at the Talbot Stead Jute Company, Green Lane, Walsall.)

Her initial appointment was to the 113th General Hospital on 1 May 1944 which was stationed at Turnberry, Ayrshire but by 20 June 1944 she was attached to the Emergency Medical Service at Bridge of Earn on 20 June 1944. 

It would seem likely that it was at this time she met and became involved with my father Captain J. M. Gordon Hendry who was involved in Mountain Warfare training with the 1st Battalion Glasgow Highlanders  H.L.I. in and around the Cairngorms at the time. This relationship was to continue despite the war.

On 1 October 1944 she embarked as part of the British Liberation Army for France and just before Christmas on 20 December 1944 she was attached to 74 General Hospital. Initially 74 General Hospital was stationed at Bruges but in the May moved north to Luneberg. She had eight days leave at the time of the move from 3 May 1945 to 11 May 1945. It was during this time that Germany finally capitulated on the 7th May with victory in Europe day being declared on 8th May. 

The relationship with my father continued during this period and it would appear likely that they managed to meet up during this brief leave as his regiment were certainly stationed near Bruges at the time. There is certainly a photograpg of them inscribed "Ghent". Certainly they did manage to meet up on at least one occasion as my father recorded in his War Diary "June 2 - Course of instruction on dealing sitting on summary mil court on members of WERMACHT. Returned via LUNEBURG and dined at 74 Br Gen Hospital. Arrived BIERE approx 01:00 3 June". William Joyce, better know as Lord Haw Haw, who broadcast pro Nazi propaganda on the radio from Germany was recovering from a gunshot wound received at the time of his arrest, at the hospital at the time.

On 29 June 1945 she was attached to 101 General Hospital which would seem to have been stationed near Bruges at Louvain at the time she joined. This latterly relocated to Heverle.

Due to her

 military service

 in WW2 she 

was entitled to 

be awarded

 the France &

Germany Star ->

and the

<- 1939-45 Star.

She was granted compassionate leave from 12 July 1945-26 July 1945. This leave would have been granted for her to return to the UK and marry J M G Hendry in Glasgow, on 18 July 1945.

It would seem that she returned to Europe but on 13 August 1945 she returned to the UK to 101 General Hospital at Netley.

On 18 September she was granted 66 days leave and was finally "released from actual duty" as of 23 November 1945. 

We have a number of photographs of my mother's time with the Queens Alexandra Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserve both in the UK and in Europe. These can be viewed by clicking here. Use the back button on your browser to return to this page.

 

This snippet from the on line obituary of Pat Stephens (1922-2012), a fellow army nurse gives a brief description of her experiences with the 74th General hospital whilst stationed at Luneburg. I assume these would have been mirrored those of my mum.....

"This took her" ..."as a member of the 74th British General Hospital, to a former convent in Bruges and to Luneburg in northern Germany in the Spring of 1945 where peace was signed.

Her memories of that time included moments of humour but also nursing the traitor Lord Haw Haw, seeing Himmler’s body after an autopsy had been performed and helping inmates at Bergen Belsen concentration camp when she was just 23 – an appalling episode about which she would never speak."


Source Material - Click to view \ download.

Dorothy Phyllis Dart - Personal Files

Form 1

Form 2 Form 3 Form 4 Release Order

Dorothy Phyllis Dart - Officer's Record of Service - Army Book 439

Front Cover Inside Front Cover Page 1 Page 2 Page 3
Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 and Page 7 Page 8
Page 9 Page 10 and Page 11 Page 12 Page 13
Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18
Page 19 Page 20 Inside Back Cover ID Card Movement Order

Dorothy Phyllis Dart - Other

D.P. Dart Officer Commision France and Germany Star Entitlement 1939-45 Star Entitlement British Troops in France Insignia

Addendum

"the traitor Lord Haw Haw"

 

The Central Queensland Herald

Thursday 7 June 1945

"LORD HAW HAW" LONDON, May 30
After a successful operation to remove the bullet lies in hospital in Luneburg awaiting an order from the Home Office to fly to Britain. Guarded by British sentries he is attended by three Irish nurses, says the British United Press correspondent at Luneburg. Adjoining rooms are occupied by British and Allied wounded, all of whom express disgust at having such a neighbour..

 

On 28 May 1945, William Joyce, beter know as Lord Haw Haw, a who broadcast pro Nazi propaganda on the radio from Germany was captured by British forces near the German-Danish border, in the town of Flensburg. Apparently when he went to retrieve his forged identification papers from his pocket, to prove he wasn’t Joyce, he was thought to be reaching for a pistol, and was shot in the buttocks,

He was taken to the 74th British General Hospital, in Lüneburg, near Hamburg, a seven-hour drive away, He seems to have spent a week or so recovering in Luneburg as it was not around 16 June that he arrived in the UK as a prisoner.

DPD would obviously been aware of his presence in the hospital and, taking into account his noteriety, it would seem likely that she at least saw him. He would have been in the hospital at the time when she dined with her future husband on 2nd June as detailed in Major hendry's war diary. "June 2 -Course of instruction on dealing sitting on summary mil court on members of Wermacht. Returned via Luneburg and dined at 74 Br Gen Hospital. Arrived Biere approx 01:00 3 June".

"seeing Himmler’s body after an autopsy"

Previous to the arrival of William Joyce for medical treatment a further even more sinister German ended up at Luneburgh. Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler who had been detained on 21 May took his own life in Lüneburg whilst in British Army custody by biting into a potassium cyanide capsule embedded in his teeth before he could be properly interrogated. It would seem that his body was brought to the Luneburg Hospital for autopsy and there is a death mask of Himmler taken by Private Gerrans, a RAMC sterilising orderly at 74th General Hospital (Luneberg).

"helping inmates at Bergen Belsen concentration camp"

From this it would seem that the nursing staff at Luneburg not only had to deal with the "normal" horrors of war but also their close proximity to the Belsen concentration camp brought them into contact with some of the Belsen prisoners which must have shocked and horrified even the most experienced nurses.