World War 2 Stories for Sheffield

                                             Dr Ivy Oates


This article is categorised in:
By Location > United Kingdom > England > Coventry and Warwickshire
Working Life and the War Effort > Nursing and Medicine
Armed Forces > British Army
Bombing and the Blitz > The Blitz

A Woman Doctor

By Actiondesk Sheffield

People in story: Dr. Ivy Oates
Location of story: Coventry, Hull, Far East.
Background to story: Army


This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Bill Ross of the ‘Action Desk – Sheffield’ Team on behalf of Dr. Ivy Oates.


Sept 3rd 1939 was a Sunday, I was in the Coventry Cathedral at 11 o’clock, the priest went into the pulpit with a piece of paper in his hand and read a message from Chamberlain saying that he had given an ultimatum to Hitler, to which he should reply by 11 o’clock. He had received no such reply, so we were at war with Germany
We knew there had been a war in Spain and civilians and churches had been bombed and we looked at our beautiful perpendicular Cathedral with its unique blue glass in the windows. This was a special dye, a secret of a Coventry family, the secret which had been lost, and was therefore irreplaceable. It was decided to remove the windows and store them at Hampton Lucy, so they would not be damaged by blasts. Coventry Cathedral was bombed and burnt to the ground. Recently, nails from the woodwork had been made into a cross and sent to Dresden, whose Cathedral was also bombed. After the war, all we had were the windows, and a modern Cathedral was built. When one goes in, it looks rather plain, not having a thousand years of history. But when you stand at the east end under the crown of thorns, if you look towards the west end, you see the wonderful vista stained glass.

I was a student at the time, commuting between Coventry and Birmingham. They were the days of steam trains, and New St Station was covered with a tremendous glass dome. The first air raid shattered all the glass, platforms were waist deep in glass and the sparks from the funnels and the opening from the fire doors meant it was very visible from the air. Trains ran at night without lights; later, a cone of black card was put round the lights to enable people to read. One night, I was going home, there was only one other woman on the platform. Nobody travelled much, the sirens went and the lady said to me, “We have to go down the luggage subway in the event of an air raid.” So we went underground, to a dark musty passage. Suddenly, she grabbed me and shouted, “A rat!, a rat!” I’d rather have an air raid than a rat. So we went back on the platform. The train could not get into Coventry because the station had been bombed. So we disembarked at a village called Berkswell. It was after midnight, and they said they would send a bus for us. In the surrounding fields, they had put oil drums. When there was a raid, they set fire to the oil, and black smoke, which you could taste, drifted over the city if the wind was in the right direction.

We approached the city via Hearsall common, and I said that I lived down there, I will get out. The bus stopped, at that moment, a stick of bombs dropped across the common. As I stepped off the bus, the rubble ran round my feet and when I turned round, the bus had gone. No man ever put his foot on the accelerator as quickly as that driver. I walked across the road and some men from the fire unit came out and said, “You’re lucky, you are, Missus.” But I thought it was very funny. I think the bus was helped by the blast. When I got home, no one was in; they had gone to an air raid shelter. I went round the back of the house where we had French windows, and watched the planes in the sky, like little golden toys. It was very cold, and I thought, “If no-one comes, I will break a window.” Then a bomb fell and I knew just where it had gone, on the Co-op, my mother’s favourite shop. The blast from the bomb blew the door open, but it did not break the window. So I got into the house and thought it very funny that a bomb had opened the door for me. We had no gas because the mains had been hit, but we had electricity. So, I turned the electric fire on its back to warm some milk, and my father came in the front door and said, “I’ve been coming over every half hour looking for you. It’s a bad raid tonight; we are in the air raid shelter in the school opposite.” I said, “I am going to spread alarm and despondency.” My mother used to say, “Those girls know just how to serve me.” In those days, you chose how thick the bacon was to be cut and it was cut in front of your eyes. The butter was patted and wrapped and you tasted the cheese to see if it was ‘sharp’ enough.

One day, I was at the university and the Coventry students who came in by car were all missing. There was no communication from Coventry. And the word had got round that there had been a terrible raid. By evening, I felt I had to go home because there was no news. The station was out of action so I got a Midland Red bus. As we approached Coventry, the city was burning and the bus could not go into the city. But I said, “I can walk across the fields.” So they dropped me off. As I was walking across this country lane, which is now an estate, there was a large aero engine factory at the side of the road, and I thought they may be wanting to bomb it. Then I thought, “It’s all right, because they have painted cows on the roof, so that a pilot looking down will think it was a field.” It was only years later that I found the corrugated iron roofs glowed in the moonlight so the cows were illuminated, making it obvious that they were painted. Then I heard a bomb drop, and Bang bang bang, and a whole herd of cows, terrified by the bomb was stampeding up the lane. I got into the hedge; it was like a western. I walked on a bit, and then another bang. The cows turned and stampeded back. When I got home, after the terrible Coventry raid, my father had gone into the town to see the damage. He had to walk because we lost every bus, so other towns sent us busses; we got busses from Manchester and Birmingham etc. When my father got into town, amongst the burning rubble, he met the king and queen and the mayor. They came up to Coventry straight after the raid. I was nearing the end of my medical course, and we had to work in the hospitals. I’d been forced to live in Birmingham and I worked at the Coventry General Hospital. The casualty department was chaos. Lorries driving at night had no lights; accidents were occurring continuously. Later, they had black cones on their lights, but the light emitted from them was less than their braking distance. The casualty theatre had three operating couches instead of one. Everybody was pushing past each other.

The working man at that time had one eldorado, ten pounds a week. If a man had ten pounds a week, he could buy a new semi, have a good weekend in the Working Men’s Club and go to Blackpool for his holiday.

I was stitching up a wound on a miner and he said to me, “I wouldn’t have your job for 10 pounds a week. How much do you get?” I said, “I do not get paid, I pay the hospital 52 pounds a year to be allowed to work here.” Trade unions take note, we paid to be allowed to work. Ideas were different at that time. We felt we were getting experience at the hospital, so we paid for it. The attitude of people was of cheerfulness and high morale. One day, a friend came in laughing away. She said, “You ought to go outside, people are walking on tiptoe, not daring to speak. A landmine has got caught in the telephone wires and the police are getting everyone out, and no-one must make a sound in case it detonates the land mine.” She thought it was hilarious, nowadays people would want six months counselling if they had a land mine outside the house.

I qualified in July 1941 when the war was going very badly for us. I was living at the Children’s Hospital in Lady Wood Road. I wanted to specialise in paediatrics. There was a temporary job at the Children’s Hospital, which I took. Then I got a job at Victoria Children’s Hospital in Hull.

Hull was especially devastating because it not only had the raids other towns got, but it was a port. Planes came over to mine the Humber Estuary. Outside my bedroom door was a school; in the schoolyard was a naval gun. This went off twice every night. My bed vibrated across the room and the windows fell out. I don’t know why they bothered to replace them.

Poor doctors nowadays, if they work at night, they have to rest in the day. What would they do if they had an air raid every night, go to bed? There were supposed to be two house physicians. I was the ‘two house physicians’. There was one house surgeon. The casualty officer had gone in the forces. The two of us shared the casualty officer’s work. The anaesthetist had also gone into the forces. The House surgeon assisted at the operations. So, who were the anaesthetists? The two house physicians; all this for 10 pounds a month. Because of the air raids, the children were evacuated to a beautiful stately home in Brantingham Dale, which was loaned to us by the Rekitts family. We had wards with oil painting, panelling, chandeliers etc. One afternoon a week, I went to Brand dale and saw to the children and stayed the night leaving everything in order the next day. This was the only night’s sleep I would get in a week. Same for Dr Berger, the House Surgeon. She was a Jewess from East Europe who had escaped from the Nazis. I arrived at Brang Dale and the sister showed me a room. She said, “I expect this was the nursery because there were white cupboards down one side.” I looked through the window; it was the back of the house which at the front looked over the wood and the upper reaches of the Humber. I said, “This is where Victorians would put their children, at the back of the house.” The sister told Mrs Reckitt I did not like the room, so next week, Mrs Reckitt said, “I have put you in the King’s bedroom. Edward the 7th has slept there.” So I assure you I have slept in the King’s bed. The only thing the people of Hull knew about the king was that he was caught cheating at cards.

Medical women were not conscripted, but I decided to go into the army and in September 1942, I received a telephone call. “Do you still want to go in the army?” I was asked. I said “Yes.” Then they said, “Go home to Coventry, you’ll get your calling up papers.” I know this date exactly because recently, I went to the archives in Hull to look up the Victoria Children’s Hospital which doesn’t exist any more, and I found that the Victoria Children’s Hospital had been started by the Trade Unionists and that in Sept 1942, Miss Ivy Nicholls resigned. I am the only person mentioned in the archive and that must be because they never got so much work from one person for so little money.

When I arrived in Coventry, the papers said, “Go to the Military tailor and get kitted out. “ I did not know what a cultural shock it was to the tailors who were used to kitting out Generals and Colonels etc, to be suddenly presented with a woman. It had never happened before. The jacket was all right; it just had to be buttoned the other way. They had never made a skirt before, but that was simple utility material. But what to put on my head? They put a peaked cap on my head. I looked ridiculous in this. The men used to say, It went along on its own and I walked under it. However, here am I in uniform, two pips on my shoulder and a first class railway ticket to Leeds, to Beckett’s Park, to the Royal Army Medical Corp training college.

Everybody saluted me. The queen was not more saluted than I was on that day. I did not know how to salute, left hand, right hand, two fingers like a girl guide. I was thankful to get into the safety of four walls. There were about 8 women and over 100 men, all doctors. Of course, you have to get immunised. In the crowded hall, three men fainted, but nobody took any notice of them. I heard one man mutter, “Fancy them doing that in front of these women.”

We had to experience gas. Cylinders of chlorine, phosgene etc. were placed in a field and we had to go and have a sniff at the gas to recognise it, then put on the gas mask to see if it protected us. When the army wished to move over a hundred troops, it marched them. We were lined up, me every inch of 5 feet 2, in a tight utility skirt, and men of 6 feet, 6’4 etc, and away we went. No way could I match the army pace. The Sergeant Major’s nightmare, one person in step, me. He was not put out, he put me front row, left side. Everyone to take their pace from me. The seams of my skirt were a great credit to the Coventry Military Tailors. The men on the front row started taking lady like steps, then people behind trying to keep their distance. The ranks and columns wavered and a great peel of laughter rang out. If I could not reach the army pace, they could not meet mine. So we had to amble across to be gassed.

After two weeks, I was posted, first class ticket to Uxbridge. However, I was not to go to Uxbridge, I was to be sent to Colchester in Essex. It was late when I arrived at the station, no one was there. The porter said, “This is the back of the station, go over the footbridge to the front.” There was the worst thunderstorm that I have ever known. There were thunder, lightening, sheets of rain and no transport because the driver knew the train came to the back of the station, so he was waiting at the back, while I stood at the front. Eventually, he came round. The journey in the blackout and with Essex being flat, we kept running into sheets of water. We arrived at a village called Great Yeldham where the army had requisitioned a large house as a battery headquarters. It had been a disastrous day for them. The DR rider had crashed into a tree and got killed. That was the first Signal. They were attached to an American airfield and the Americans had detonated one of their own bombs and they’d had an explosion. The terrible storm had brought down the electricity cables and they were in darkness, so they stuck candles in beer bottles and were walking round in a Frankenstein way, illuminated by candles.

However, their troubles were not over; out of the storm, the new medical officer arrived, the officers came out of the mess holding the candles. To their amazement, they found their new medical officer was a woman. They didn’t know such things existed; in fact they put me in to share a bedroom with the Captain Quarter Master. I was replacing an officer, Captain Lissack who was posted to North Africa. He said to me, “I will hand over to you in the morning, but there is no Red Cross brandy.” I said, “Why not?” Apparently, the Sergeant in charge of the reception station had an affair with an ATS girl who jilted him. So he decided to commit suicide. Well, you can’t just say, “I’m going to commit suicide,” and just do it, so he was drinking the brandy. The Corporal rang the Officers’ mess to say the sergeant was going to commit suicide and was drinking the brandy. Then Captain Lissack said, “He’s not having it all, I’m having some.” So between them, they finished the Red Cross brandy by which time, neither was in a fit state to commit suicide.

Next morning was my first sick parade. A sergeant with a dog, the size of a small pony said, “My dog’s got a bone stuck in his throat.” So, he pulled the dog’s mouth open and there was the bone in the back of his throat. I got the forceps and pulled it out, and wondered whether I should have gone as a vet. Next a searchlight was having trouble with its grease-trap. I didn’t know what a grease-trap was but I went to give my expert opinion. Had I known men then as I do now, I would have realised that the word had gone round that there was a woman Medical Officer and they wanted to see what she was like.

One of my jobs was that I was M.O. to an Italian P.O.W. camp near Braintree Essex.
They were the happiest men in England. It was a tented camp surrounded by the obligatory barbed wire. This was not to keep Italians in, but others out. The Italians weren’t going anywhere. Their first job was to build the camp. They were provided with concrete etc. and set to work to build their barrack rooms. They made moulds of the Virgin Mary in their arms, to ornament the doorways, but the Officers’ Mess was not going up at all. So the Colonel got them all together and said that in England, in the winter, snow came up to your neck, icicles were everywhere and a bitter wind blew, and nobody was going into the barrack room until the Officers’ Mess was built. It went up in a week.

The prisoners worked in the village. A coach came for them every morning to take them to work. They went out looking a bit like soldiers; they came back with bumps all over them, pockets bulging. Chickens, rabbits, eggs, everything they could lay their hands on, they brought back with them. The guards for the camp were first was veterans, dead keen soldiers, but a bit arthritic, shorted sighted etc. The guard stood with his rifle at the bottom to the coach steps. The Italians hopped in, two steps at a time. The last one handed the guard’s rifle to one of the prisoners. It had helped him up the steps, and they were ready to go to work. An air raid in Braintree damaged one of the roads. They asked for the prisoners to go and clear the road. They worked in their usual Italian way, singing, gentle pace, and at 5 o’clock, they were ready to get in the coach and go home for their tea. The sergeant went to the coach and said, “Get out, the road isn’t cleared, it has to be cleared before you go home.” The Italians said, the Geneva Convention stated that they must only work a certain number of hours. They knew the Geneva Convention by heart. The sergeant uttered a few well-chosen words about the Geneva Convention and got them all out. I said to the Colonel, “What are you going to do, these prisoners are refusing to work?” He said, “I thought of putting them into tents to sleep on boards for a week, but you have to say that it won’t be detrimental to their health.” I said, “Our men are sleeping on the ground under their vehicles. If they can sleep on the ground, the Italians can sleep on boards.” There was an Italian doctor in the camp and he went to the Colonel, tears streaming down his face. He would not be responsible if the men got pneumonia etc. He made such a commotion, the Colonel went to my Colonel, called the A.D.M.S. and said what he proposed and that I had passed it. My Colonel had a term of endearment for me, “That bloody woman.” So he said, “That bloody woman would,” So whether they slept on boards or not, I don’t know.

One evening, two prisoners were missing. An escape; this is getting more like Colditz. I said to the Colonel, “What are you going to do? Two men have escaped.” “Nothing!” he replied. At ten o’clock that night, a call came from Harlow, to “….come and pick us up.” This was our great escape.

Another of my jobs was in Ipswich. When a unit came in transit, they brought their own medical officer. But when they went on embarkation leave, the unit had no M.O., so I covered for them for ten days. They decided to have some A.T.S. attached and the army had requisitioned a nice Georgian house that had been empty for a year. They colour washed the walls, made the house very comfortable and made a billet for the A.T.S. I had to pass it as suitable for the girls to go in. I said it was very nice, they could go in. Next morning, every girl on sick parade was covered in bug bites. When the raids were bad on the East End of London, some of the evacuees were housed in this fine house in Ipswich before being sent into the countryside. They took with them, fleas, bugs, lice, scabies etc. The M.O.H. cleaned the house, took out the skirting board, fumigated it and left it empty for one year. He refused to believe that bugs can live for that amount of time without food.

A man got up in Parliament and said, “It is disgraceful, women being in charge of all male units.” I’d say, “Who does he think has been in charge of men since the beginning of time?” If women had not been in charge of men and looking after them, how would they have had time for their theories, religions, inventions etc.? My colonel, was a bit miffed by this, he didn’t want to be told by M.P.s what he could do. He had one definite woman Medical Officer in charge of an all male unit. However, he came to the mess and started chatting. “We are going to send you to Broadstairs, you’ll like it there, it’s at the seaside, etc.,” he said, as though he were a travel agent. At the end, I said, “I don’t like the seaside, I prefer the country.” You can see why he called me “….that bloody woman.”

I was doing Ipswich at the time and I said to the colonel, “They’re going to push me to Broadstairs.” “Oh,” he said, “If they’re going to post you, the A.D.M.S. (Assistant Director of Medical Services) is a pal of mine, I’ll get him to post you to us. When you first came, I said to the men, ‘do you mind having a woman medical officer,’ and they said, no, they preferred it.” So I kept quiet because that was another all male unit. When the colonels got together around their whisky, my colonel said, “that b….y woman, if she’s going from one all male unit to another, she might as well stay where she is.” So I never saw the delights of Broadstairs.
We were expecting the invasion, and troops were being moved toward the coast, so of course, they needed me and I was posted near Chichester, on the south coast I’ve never suffered from men being nasty or disagreeable with me. But I have suffered from them being too kind and subsequently, I found there was little for me to do. We did get machine gunned in a field once, so we just laughed, saying, “The Germans couldn’t hit a haystack at five yards.” But I had been used to being very busy and I was bored. So I wrote to the A.D.M.S. and told him that there did not seem to be a job for me there. So, whilst I was having a read in bed one night, an officer poked his nose around the door and said, “You’re posted.” I said, “What, now?” He said, “No, we’re not telling you until morning.” I said, “Where am I going?” He said, “Scotland.” So, if they were irritated with me, they couldn’t have sent me much further from the south coast than to Scotland. Next morning, I went to Edinburgh and an officer came and he was chatting me up on the station. I could not think who he was; then he said, “I have never spoken to a woman Medical Officer before.” I realised, that if we were rare in England, we were unknown in Scotland. I went to get some tea, and the waitress said, “Lady somebody or other, wondered if you would like to take a sherry with her.” I felt like the fat lady at the circus that everyone wanted to look at. However, it was a free drink. I was to go to a place called Aberdour, in Fife. It was a job after my own heart, an empty house, to start from scratch and establish a reception station. The Scots have their own language in Fife. My new corporal thought he’d met me before, and he said, “Ma’am, do you mind my face?” I told him, I thought I could put up with it. But as all Scots know, he meant, “Do you remember my face?”

I was the M.O. to the gunners on the Forth Bridge and I had another reception station at Kinghorn. I enjoyed being in Scotland, so I thought I would like to see more of it at the government’s expense. I asked the A.D.M.S. if I could have the job of relieving M.O.s on leave. After all, Aberdour has been sorted out and would now be easy for a man to take over. Men do not like jobs moving about, they like to stay in one place, so there was no competition for the job, I got it. Whilst I was in Aberdour, my driver wanted to go to Edinburgh, but could not use the vehicle unless she was driving me. So she said, “Would you like to go to Edinburgh ma’am?” Well, I wasn’t keen, there wasn’t much there, so she said, “You could go to the cinema ma’am.” I never went to the cinema, but between the wars there had been one film that was highly praised and I had seen it: ‘Tales From The Vienna Woods.’ So I went into Edinburgh, to the cinema, and it was ‘Tales From The Vienna Woods.’
Then we went to Bishopbriggs, near Glasgow and I was delighted to see the west coast of Scotland, after being on the east coast. However, I did not even see the side of the road, it was thick fog for all the ten days I was there. Nevertheless, my driver wanted to go into Glasgow, so she said, “Would you like to go into Glasgow ma’am?” So I thought I might as well go to the cinema. It was ‘Tales From The Vienna Woods.’
Within the next ten days, I was sent to Ireland. Wonderful, I went to Stranraer, sailed across to a place called Whitehead. There was a German P.O.W. camp on the Isle of McGeed, but they did not give me that because, Germans, like the British, think if you are a prisoner, you should try to escape. Whereas my Italians, were glad they were comfortable and stayed where they were.
However, my driver wanted to go into Belfast, so I went into Belfast, and the film in the cinema was ‘Tales From The Vienna Woods’. At the end of ten days, I got a phone call: “Do still want to go overseas?” I said, “Yes.” So they said, “Do not go to ‘Derry next week, go back to Coventry where you will receive your papers for overseas.” I went back home, got my knife, fork and spoon which my mother wrapped in a lace doily (a small mat), and went to London, the only time I shall ever live in a Bayswater flat which the army had requisitioned. When we were kitted out with pith helmets and tropical kit, we knew we were going somewhere warm. Then, in the middle of night, we were put on a train and a few weeks after leaving Scotland, I was back in Stranraer. There were three large troop ships in the estuary and you couldn’t see one of them, that fog which I had resented, when I was in Bishopbriggs was still there. It provided a wonderful camouflage to the ships. Think what a target three large troop ships would have been. As we were going to the tropics, we naturally had to go via the North Pole. It was December 1943 and the weather was atrocious.
The ship went up and down; everybody was seasick and for one whole day, I had nothing to eat. This is against my principles, so the next day, I was determined to get up. I fell about the cabin getting dressed, clung to the rail in the corridor and as I reached the steps, the ship tipped up. I do not know how to go down steps, upwards, so I had to wait till they went down again. I got to the salon, took the first chair in sight. There were rails round the tables to stop the plates falling off and there was no one there other than the waiters, enjoying doing nothing and being paid for it. I could have had everybody’s breakfast.

We then went west and whilst in British waters, we were on British rations. When we left British waters, a wonderful sight appeared on the dining table, a big dish of oranges. We had not seen an orange for four years. We sailed into the Atlantic Ocean, and made a big circle. The clock kept changing, that’s why we knew we were doing a circle; It was because we had to get through Gibraltar at night. Previous to this, all troops had to go via Durban in South Africa. The war in North Africa was over, but there, they were still trigger happy. One ship had tried to get through and had been hit. We were the next. We went through in the night, all wearing our Mae Wests and amazingly, there were lights along the coast. We hadn’t seen lights like that for four years. We got through to port side, the first ship to do so and the M.D. was open. The ship, called Stratheden, was too big to go through the canal, so we disembarked, and went by train to a transit camp, put there by the navy and because it was built for W.R.E.N.s, it was called The Aviary. There were about half a dozen women in The Aviary. Imagine a desert full of men when half a dozen women arrive. We got invitations to the Officers’ Mess in tents. We made ourselves beautiful, all polished, while the men looked scruffy in their desert gear. And one woman, who ought to have had more sense, asked the Colonel where the ladies’ room was; the middle of the Sahara, full of men, asking for a ladies’ room. We were not going to miss this. The colonel took us to a little hut where there was a wooden seat with a hole in it. This was for the colonel. Near it was another with a wooden plank containing two holes. This was for officers. Those of us that were inquisitive, had a look round and found a long ditch, with a long plank with a row of holes. We were highly delighted to think what a cheerful time the men had in the morning, all together. We were laughing when we went back and I heard the Colonel mutter, not quite the ladies we’re used to, but perhaps its better this way. One officer asked me if I’d like to go to the French club at Tewfick. I said yes, but he said its out of bounds because there’s a plague there. I thought, “What’s plague between friends?” so we went to Tewfick. It was wonderful to sit in a comfortable chair, after living with army issue for over a year. One of the women in our group was having an affair with a man awaiting his divorce. He was going to write to her in Bombay to tell her if it was going through.

Of course, the army had lost our records and wondered who we were. They thought we must be ENSA. So they had to rustle up a ship for us and they found the czar’s yacht which sounds very grand, until you remember the czar and his family were murdered in 1917 and it was now the end of 43. It was crewed by Poles who could not speak English. They put three of us in a cabin for two, two bunks, and a mattress on a sort of pirate’s chest for the third. I thought, “I’m not sleeping on that,” so I said to the officer, “I’ll have a hammock.” He said, they would put a hammock up for me every night on the deck. Have you ever tried getting into a hammock? They tip over. A Colonel was chatting me up that day and at night, he said, “Go and get ready,” He would get me into the hammock. So I came on deck in my nightie and he got me into the hammock. Once you are in, it’s all right, however, I was definitely in the best place. There was a nice breeze across the water. In the Arabian Sea, when the waves break, you get phosphorescence in the water and it cannot be seen in the daylight. However, when you are in the hammock, you have to get out, each morning, I would hear a voice. The captain learned one sentence in English which he repeated every morning. “I am sorry to disturb, you but the decks must be washed.”
Years later, I wondered how many junior officers had a Senior Officer to put them to bed and a Ship’s Captain to get them up. It was like the song the men used to sing, ‘Kiss Me Goodnight Sergeant Major, Wake Me With A Nice Cuppa Tea.’ At the time, it seemed quite natural, the Poles are very fond of soup; they make it then they add yesterday’s vegetables chopped up forming a kind of potage. When I was in Hull, I once noticed the soup had a funny aftertaste and I said to the maid, “This soup tastes funny.” “Oh,” she said, “I expect the chef left the lid off the stockpot and a cockroach got in.” Apparently, when this happened, he’d fish it out and boil the stock again. There was the same tang to the Polish soup, but I did not tell anybody. You had bread with soup, French stick cut in pieces. But the weevils got there first, so we took the slices of bread and held them aloft, dropped them onto the plates, so the weevils fell out. We dusted them onto the floor turned the bread over and treated the other side the same. And nobody was any the worse for it. When we arrived in Bombay, we separated, never to meet gain and I was to go to a place called Kirkee near Poona. Everyone knows the British settled in India to trade, but so did all the other seafaring nations, the French, Portuguese, the Dutch etc. This hospital was converted from Dutch barracks and was a TB hospital for British troops, officers and Indian army officers. India was riddled with TB and still is. When I arrived, we were briefed on how not to offend Muslims, their systems, and Hindus and their systems. It seems odd when people come here (to the UK) that nobody briefs them on how not to offend us.
Some of the men patients had escaped from Singapore. Singapore upsets me more than any other incident in the Far East. Why we didn’t fight for it I don’t know. It would have been better to die fighting than be taken prisoners by the Japanese. Some men escaped, they wandered through Burma. There were headhunters who would take a man’s head off to keep as a trophy. They waded in swamps with leeches in them and they got malaria. And when they reached the border with India, they were riddled with TB. They had come to us to die. All you could say, they died in a clean bed amongst their own people instead of rotting in the jungle, eaten by wild animals. There was no antibiotic treatment at the time. However, I am very interested in insects, particularly ants which were very large in India. Once an officer asked me if I would like to go to the Phoona races. I said I don’t know anything about racing, but he wanted me to go anyway. So in return, I thought, “He likes chocolate cake, I’ll get a chocolate cake.” We had a ration of a bottle of whisky a month, so I thought when he brings me back he can have some chocolate cake and whisky. As we approached the bungalow where I was billeted, I said to him, “You’re not getting any chocolate cake.” I said, “Look, it’s just as though someone has taken a brush and dipped it in black paint and drawn a black line up the steps.” The ‘line’ was a deluge of ants. One side of the line was going up towards the chocolate cake and other side was comprised of ants returning, full of chocolate cake. When we got to my room and looked in the cupboard, the chocolate cake was reduced to a pile of saw dust. We used to stand the cupboards in tins of water to keep out the ants. But these large ants, nearly an inch in length, had drowned themselves in the water so that their ‘comrades’ could crawl over their bodies in order to get to the cupboard. A nursing sister, a Q.A., said to me once, “I love chocolate éclairs. Do you think the chef would make me some?” So I said, “You can ask him for nothing.” Yes, he could make them; he gave a list of ingredients, which he bought at the bazaar. He made a wonderful dish of chocolate éclairs and when we’d eaten some of them, there were quite a few left, so the sister said, “I’m not going to leave these for the night staff.” She put the dish in the cupboard and when she went off duty, she put a note on the desk saying, “Look in the cupboard, there’s a surprise for you.” When night staff looked, they had their surprise, a pile of sawdust. I said once that I did not know how the ants found the éclairs, and a chap came to me and said, “You know how the ants found them?” I said, “No.” He said, “It was the note the nurse left on the desk. ‘Look in the cupboard.’”
The war in the Far East was going badly because money, men and munitions had been needed in North Africa and Europe, but things were going better in Europe and we were to get ready for what was called the Burma push. And our whole hospital, beds and equipment were to move by train to a place called Ranchi, near Calcutta.
Once we got started and organised in Burma we moved forward rapidly and when they got Rangoon, a port, it was more convenient to send casualties by sea, to Madras. So some of us were posted from Ranchi to Calcutta. One of my jobs in Calcutta was to go to a convalescent hospital, which was a Raja guest palace in Burracoti. It was the time of the ‘quit India.’ In every country, there is a group of people that knows what is right and what should be done, and that group is the students and they staged many demonstrations in Calcutta. Nobody wanted to quit India more than the British Tommy; he was fed up with taking meparcrien and fed up with Indian food. He wanted to quit India, so one student demonstration along Chowringee, was chanting, “Quit India.” The British soldiers fell behind, shouting, “Quit India.” And the students wondered why everyone was laughing. I was at Burracotee at the time that rioting started. It was well out of the town, away from British settlements. Consequently, the hospital had to be sealed off and no one could leave and no one could come in. So the nurses that had been on at night had to cover the day and the next night, and I was stuck there. Calcutta is very humid and you have to change clothes frequently.
My husband rang from Calcutta and said, “Are you all right?” I said, “No, I’ve got no change of clothes, I only brought enough for 24 hours.” So he said, “I will put myself on a convoy and bring some.”
The home sister who was imprisoned with me in the hospital said, “I have a friend in transport who could move this hospital to that building that the army has in Calcutta which was intended for the overflow from the hospital, but he hasn’t enough men.” So when my husband arrived with his convoy, I said to him, “We could move the hospital to the building in Calcutta, but we haven’t enough men.” He said, “How many do you want, 80, 100?” I said, “100 will do.” Next day, a convoy, lorry loads of men and some 3 tonners, lined up. We put beds and equipment into the 3 tonners and went in convoy through Calcutta and the patients were put into the other building. I remember saying to the quartermaster, “I’ve got 100 chairs for you.” He said, “What do I want with 100 chairs?” So I said, “I don’t want them and you’re the quartermaster.” The next morning, the corporal sent for me. He was not aware of what had taken place, Apologising for me being left out in the sticks he said how he’d tried and how the palace was unsuitable, but he tried to get the other place opened, but it hadn’t been possible. And when we finished, I said, “I’ve moved it.” He said, “Moved what?” I said, “The hospital.” “You’ll have offended the raja,” he screamed as though I’d started a second Indian mutiny. He’d no more time for me. The silence afterwards was deafening, but I heard an officer say, “Only a woman would have got away with it.”
I did not get a medal for doing what the colonel said was impossible. I was court martialed for offending the Raja. It was only years later that I realised that not only had I insulted the Raja by not waving goodbye, but I was a woman and women are not highly regarded in India. However, whilst we were in Ranchi we had a bad polio epidemic. Two nursing sisters died and many men were invalided by paralysis. I’m one of the few doctors who had seen polio in the raw where it was a killing disease.
I was posted to Lahore for a time. It was terribly hot, so I always slept outside under the mosquito net. One night, the bed kept rocking about; it did not worry me because I was used to beds jumping about when I was in Hull, when the naval guns went off. I just thought there was a dog under the bed. The next morning, I went into the mess. Everyone was bleary eyed. “Wasn’t it a terrible night?” they said. “Why, what was the matter?” said I. “The earthquake,” they said. They had all been outside with their jewellery boxes and wallets. It’s the only earthquake I’ve ever been in and I missed it.
I was then posted back to Calcutta, and I had a nursing sister on the ward who was very ill with an amoebic infection. The treatment involved a tablet with a heavy metal salt and I had an inborn reluctance to give metallic salts. I thought, “She’s not getting better, I think the tablets are making her worse, I’m not giving her any more.” When the consultant came round, he said, “Continue her tablets.” I said, “I’m not giving her any more, if you want her to have them, write them up yourself.” He didn’t write them up, but apparently, they had a little meeting and they decided to send her home and let her die at home. To get me out of the way for a bit, I was to accompany her to Bombay where arrangements had been made for her to sail back to the U.K. This suited me and we went to Dum Dum airport, spent the night there and were ready to fly the next morning. The pilot sent me a message, “We cannot take off, we’re in the middle of a dust storm.” So we spent the day at Dum Dum, went to bed and got up next morning. Things were all right and off we went. We’d been flying some time (the plane was a Dakota). I looked through the porthole and noticed something like lightning on wings. I’m probably quite wrong, but I thought you couldn’t be struck by lightning if you weren’t touching the ground, so I didn’t worry. Then the pilot sent me a message, “We have run into an electric storm. I’m going back.” I said, “Don’t go back, we’ll miss the boat.” But he’d turned round and we were back at Dum Dum. On the third day we rose again, we flew to Bombay but the boat had left. I had to leave the sister at the military hospital there.
Unknown to me, my husband had heard that they were going to send me to Bombay, so he put himself on a convoy and came across India on a motorbike, and when I thought he was a thousand miles away, there he was with a grin across his face. He said to me, “We’re going pigeon shooting, do you want to come?” So I said, “Yes, I’ll go pigeon shooting. And his friend a major came round in a Jeep I sat at the front with the Major; my husband sat at the back. With the Major’s bearer, he got his turban, he was all dressed up. We got into the country, and my husband was saying, “This is Black Cotton Soil, its very fertile. But after the Monsoon, it becomes very slippery. All of a sudden, the bearer shouted, “Stop, stop.” So the major slammed on the brakes, the Jeep stopped but I didn’t and I went sailing through the windscreen. I also made close contact with Black Cotton Soil, I had my face in it. The pigeons were safe, we had to return, my head was cut open, and I remember the M.O. stitching my head, and saying, “I can’t understand you, my wife would be hysterical.” I said, “I don’t know about your wife, but you’d do better if you used a cutting needle, instead of a round bodied one.” I could feel he had the wrong needle, so I had a great bandage round my head.

I had to return to Calcutta by train, and to understand the next part, we have to step aside. Two ladies, a doctor and a matron in one of the hospitals, decided that when they had some leave, they would go to Kashmir. Kashmir is a beautiful Shangri-la in the Himalayas – all mountains and lakes. The only unfortunate thing is that men were killing each other then and still are. However, they went to the station. Indian trains were very beautiful; they were sleepers, four berth compartments, but at the end of every carriage, was a two-berth compartment reserved for ladies. So the two ladies got into this compartment, settled down for the night, going across India to Kashmir for their dream holiday. The next morning, they were both found murdered, strangled with a silken scarf. This upset the establishment very much. An Indian Army order came out that women were not to travel in these two-berth compartments any more. They were to travel in four berth compartments.

My husband and I went to Bombay Station and found a four-berth compartment. An Indian lady got in; when the whistle went for the train to start, my husband pulled out his revolver, he handed it to me and said, “It is loaded. If you have to, USE IT!” So I just said, “OK,” and I took the revolver. He hopped off the train and away he went.

At about seven o’clock - it gets dark in the tropics - the train stopped at a station, and the sergeant in charge of the train came down, banging on the door. “LOCK ALL YOUR DOORS! LOCK ALL YOUR DOORS!” So, when the train started up, we went to lock the door, but the lock was broken, we couldn’t lock it. However, we decided to put our tin trunks across the doorway; we had to use tin because the ants had everything else; and away we went. We hoped that if anybody tried to get in, they might fall over them and perhaps, happily break their necks.

Anyway, we settled down for the night. I remember the Indian lady brought some very nice cake with her, with cherries in and cream. We didn’t very often get cream cakes there. However, away we go, I could not lie down because of the bandage around my head, so, when it got dark, I propped myself up in a semi-sitting position on the bunk, and I must have dozed off as we as we ‘sailed’ through the night. Then, I noticed an odd feeling. It seemed cool. I opened my eye, one eye because the other had quietly closed under the bandage, and there, in the darkness of the tiny little light that there was in the carriage, I could see the carriage door was wide open, and standing at the bottom of my bunk, was an Indian figure shrouded in a shawl.

I thought of my revolver and I could not move. I wondered about this, I do not know why, but I could not get that revolver, but when the figure turned towards me, I realised it was the woman from the opposite bunk. If she hadn’t been sharing with the slowest person ‘on the draw’ in the whole sub-continent, she might have had a bad accident. I don’t know how it is that men can draw and shoot in a split second, because I don’t think a woman can, because you’re undecided, you’re not quite sure. Anyway, I don’t know what happened, but I didn’t shoot her and we moved our trunks back against the door, we closed the door, and we got back to Calcutta.

Whenever I’m in a life and death situation, people think it’s hilarious, the men in the mess thought it was terribly funny; maybe it was. Something similar happened to me once in Sheffield. My son was with me, he’d gone out early in the morning, and I heard the door go, then I heard someone rattle the knob. Of course, I didn’t go down, I was in the bathroom; someone came up the stairs. I looked through the door to say, “What have you forgotten?” and found a perfectly strange man coming up the stairs. I said, “GET OUT!” He ran down the stairs. He said, “I’ve come to see if you want anything doing.” I said, “YOU DIDN’T! GET OUT!” When I told my lads, they thought it was hilarious. They said, “I bet he was frightened to death.”

So there you are; however, I got back to Calcutta. I had different jobs. One particular job I had was to go to a place called Bhuracrutee, where a Raja had lent us a beautiful marble guest palace, as a sort of convalescent halfway house in a hospital. We had got a building, which we could have used; it belonged to the army, but they’d never been able to get it sorted out. So, one day, I had to go Bhuracrutee, see to the patients there, stay overnight and come back the next day.

It was the time of the ‘Quit India Campaign’, and this palace was away from any western settlement. Rioting started, so it wasn’t safe for anyone to leave the palace or the hospital to go out. The nurses who had been on all night, had to stay on the next day, and the next night and the next day. So did I. My husband rang me up from the fort in Calcutta where he worked. He said, “Are you all right?” I said, “Of course not, I thought I was only coming for 24 hours. I’ve only got two changes of clothes.” You have to change your clothes at least twice a day in Calcutta. I said, “I’ve no clothes.” So he said, “I will put myself on a convoy, and come and bring you some.” So the home sister who was also incarcerated with me said, “I have a friend in transport and he said ‘I have enough transport to move this hospital to the place in Calcutta, but I haven’t enough men.’” So when my husband arrived, I said, “The home sister has a friend in Home Transport who could move the hospital into Calcutta, but they haven’t enough men.” He said, “How many men do you want? Eighty? A hundred?” I said, “A hundred will do.”

So, he bought lorry loads of men in and transport brought their three tonners; we packed patients, beds, equipment, everything into the three tonners, went in convoy to Calcutta to the building which the army had there, and ‘shovelled’ them all in. I didn’t tell the C.O., after all, the administrators don’t need to know everything, but I did say to the quartermaster, “I’ve a hundred chairs for you Q.” He said, “What do I want with a hundred chairs? I don’t want a hundred chairs.” I said, “Nor do I, but you’re the Quartermaster.”

The next morning, the C.O. sent for me and started apologising, told me how sorry he was that I was out in the sticks; it wasn’t suitable being out there, you know, a poor defenceless woman amongst the rioting etc. And so, when he’d finished, I said, “I’ve moved it.” He said, “Moved WHAT?” I said, “The hospital.” He flew up into the air. He said, “You’ll have offended the Raja.” It was as though I’d started another Indian mutiny. Well, perhaps……….I don’t know. It didn’t occur to me until years afterwards that maybe I had offended the Raja, not only because I had moved the people from his palace without saying goodbye, but “you had done it, a woman”.

It just occurred to me, years later, that that would have offended him. Never mind, whatever happened, happened. The silence after it was deafening. I didn’t get a medal for doing what the C.O. said was impossible, and I didn’t get court-martialled for offending the Raja, but I did hear one of the men saying, “Only a woman would have gotten away with it.”

I don’t know whether you have ever been on a job where you have to cover. But when you are on duty and covering, something always happens. When other people are on, nothing happens; they go to bed. Something always seemed to happen when I was orderly officer. One early hour of the morning, the war in Burma had ceased and men were coming back to Calcutta, to go home. Lorry loads of men were being taken to Calcutta Station, and they had a pile up; one lorry ran into another, and the Casualty was full of badly injured men and slightly injured men. The whole lorry load suddenly arrived in Calhitti. And of course, who is orderly officer? I am. Well, I don’t mind a big job like that, it suits me. I like a big organising job. “All those not hurt, go over there, a char will make you some tea. All those with slight cuts and bruise, over there, the nurses will see to you.

We had runners, we didn’t have telephones. So we sent all the boys, the runners off to every ward to get them to send all the orderlies with all the stretchers they’d got, and they all came running into Casualty like spokes on a wheel. We put the more seriously ill ones on the stretchers to get them onto the wards. And then I thought, “What am I doing? We have a Casualty like Piccadilly Circus, and all the men are in bed. So then I sent all the runners to get all the consultants up, and I can just imagine what they said. It gave me great pleasure.

However, that was one night. Another night I was on, the troops had come out of Burma and they were bright yellow with nepacrine, and they thought, “Hooray, we’re out of Malaria country.” They stopped taking nepacrine. A Medical Officer rings me up and says, “I’ve ten men with Malaria.” He rings again, “I’ve eight more men with Malaria.” He was gradually shipping the whole regiment to me with malaria, because they’d all stopped taking the nepacrine, and that was his blessed fault. However, I said, “Look, I’ve no more beds left. You’ll have to turn one of your barrack rooms into a ward, and I’ll send you the treatment. We can’t admit anyone else. That was another time when the C.O. went out, and went to bed with a half empty hospital and woke up to find it bulging at the seams. They must have dreaded me being on.

Once, I got a phone call from French Indo-China. A little French girl, they thought, had inhaled a peanut and we were the only people who could do the bronchoscopy. So they said, could they fly her over? So I said, “Yes!” The next morning, the C.O.’s having kittens. “YOU HAVE ADMITTED A CIVILIAN TO A MILITARY HOSPITAL. YOU MAY HAVE TO PAY FOR HER!” So I said, “Alright, I will.” I didn’t know what I was going to pay, but he wasn’t going to brow beat me. I said, “I thought the French were our allies.” Mind you, we had our doubts about that. I was never forgiving of the French for letting us sink their navy, rather than come over to the allies when Hitler invaded France. However, we got the little girl and I think the C.O. was a bit touched, seeing me going round with this little girl, talking to her in my pigeon French.

Anyway, we did the bronchoscopy and she hadn’t got a peanut stuck there, and she was flown back and I didn’t hear any more about it. But this is how it was.

Now, V.E. Day, the war in Europe had finished. We were glad to hear of course, that it had finished, but our war hadn’t. We were still fighting the Japs. They were the rottenest enemy anybody could fight. All the atrocities that were done by the Germans were done by the Japs. People had hidden many of the things that the Japs did. The Germans have had to live with their past, but not the Japs. However, it took an atomic bomb to end our war. Now, when the atomic bomb fell, people had said to me that it was immoral. But I don’t see it as any worse to be killed by an atomic bomb than by torture, and the treatment that the Japs dealt out to our prisoners. They say, “Was it necessary to drop two bombs?” Well, the Japs were a people very difficult to vanquish because of their ideology. Whether one would have been enough, I do not know, but, they had a documentary on television: when Hitler was losing the war, he sent a submarine with his uranium, and all the details of how far the Germans had got with an atomic bomb. We knew the submarine was going to Japan, and we did not want to sink it. We wanted to capture it, which we did. With that, we realised how near the Japs were to an atomic bomb and how near the Germans were. So it wasn’t a matter of whether it was right to drop it, it was a question of who was first to drop it. That justified to me the second atomic bomb.

However, who was the orderly officer on V.J. night? You can have three guesses and be right the first time, I was. Everybody was celebrating, the men were all drunk, and fireworks were going off all over the place. I was in Casualty, one soldier came in, drunk as a coot, slipped over on….well, he wouldn’t do anything that anybody said. He slipped on the floor, so I said to the orderlies, “Sit on him,” which they did very readily; they descended on him, and so, I got on my knees and stitched up his hand. I learned something that I wasn’t quite sure of before, namely, what a wonderful anaesthetic alcohol is. He got up, very merrily, and said, “I’ll come and take you out tomorrow,” which of course, delighted the orderlies very much.

V.J. Day actually meant that our war had finished. There was some talk of sending me to Japan, but there was one problem which neither the army nor the navy could solve: on a ship, only a Captain had a cabin to himself. What would they do with one woman? Now, the mind boggles. They didn’t know, so they decided that I wouldn’t go. When I learned how long the land remained radioactive, I’m glad I did not go. Of course, so many men, there were so many people in the Far East, they could not come back straight away, and it took another year, or even two years before everybody returned home. So, we were left there, of course, the hospital still had to be run. We were still working, and I got pregnant and had my oldest son who was born in 46, in September, in Dilhali Military Hospital, for which he has never forgiven me. “Of all the places to be born,” he said, “why did I have to be born in Dilhali?” which is a beautiful station, I can tell you, a beautiful station, but never mind. You know, you can never be right with your children all the time, can you?

So, by the time we came home, at Easter 47, after we’d had the coldest winter, 46-47, we came back from the tropics to the cold. But of course, everybody came to Southampton, to pick us up, but mainly to see the baby. My husband got a hundred and twenty pounds, and a suit of clothes. I got eighty pounds and six pounds in lieu of a suit of clothes, and in July, I was out of the army. If I had been in for two more months, I would have served for five years. Having served five years in active service, I would have come out as a Major, but as I hadn’t quite done it, I came out as a Captain.

In conclusion, there are some things I can say about India that would give an idea of the local colour. There was the Divhali Festival; an Indian Regiment invited us to the Divhali Festival. It’s a lovely festival that they have in Hindu. It’s where they have little lights, they make little tiny lamps with bits of clay, anything, put a little wick and oil in, then light it. Then they put the little lamps along the windowsills, and over the doors and along the wall. So, they have got these twinkling lights everywhere, and they have a feast. It’s a great celebration, a lovely festival. And this unit invited us to go.

Well, of course, naturally, we went, and when you’re invited out to a meal, when you get there, you expect to see a table with cakes and cutlery on it, don’t you? Forget it! All we saw were strips of matting down the long hall; parallel strips of matting. We realised that we were to sit on the floor, cross-legged. Was I glad I was wearing trousers? Because some of the nurses had got skirts on. We had to sit opposite each other with the matting in the middle. And then, ‘plates’ did you say? Banana leaves! Banana leaves cut into squares; they were clean, they had been washed. We all got a square of banana leaf. Then, one of the orderlies comes along with an enormous bowl of rice. A dollop of rice on each banana leaf, then the curry comes along on top of that. Indians of course, eat with their fingers, but as a concession to Westerners, not knowing these things, we all got a spoon. After that, we got the sweet, and then, we got the banana leaf, but that was folded into a bag, like the old sweet bag, you know, twisted round, and a thorn stuck in the side, which stopped it from coming open. And you got your sweet rice in that. I thought, “What a brilliant idea, no washing up, a wonderful lot of compost, and, it seemed to me they’d got it made you know. That was a great experience, and they have lovely customs in India, like putting garlands round you to celebrate things, and we would go round the wards and in each ward, an Indian would come and put a great garland of flowers round your neck. By the time you’d been to three or four wards, you’d look like a walking grave with all these piles of flowers. They are wonderful people and have wonderful customs, and the lovely thing about living among people with different cultures is you understand how they think and how they look at life. That broadens your own ideas of ideas, and of how life appears to them.

I always think Hinduism is such a tolerant religion, because in both Islam and Christianity, if you make a mess of one life, you go to hell, according to religion. But in Hinduism, you don’t; you’re reborn, but in a lower status because you have to suffer for your sins. But, if you live a good life in that, you are reborn into a better one. So you can redeem yourself in Hinduism, whereas you can’t in Islam and Christianity. And don’t you think that’s a nice tolerant attitude? There’s a lot of good things in Hinduism, and as I say, these are the kind of things you learn. People have said to me, “Were you glad that you went in the army?” Well, I don’t think in wartime, that you have much of a choice. I remember being in the operating theatre in Hull one time, and someone asked the surgeon if he was going to join up. He said no, and referred to someone who had made a lot of money during the First World War, and “……..I’m going to make a lot of money in this one.” I remember feeling revolted by that. That people can think of making money while other people were giving their lives for their country. So, when I volunteered to go into the army, I had no doubt. However, I do realise that if I had stayed in this country and specialised in paediatrics, I would probably have been a consultant and made much more money, and perhaps[s some people would say, have achieved more. But I don’t know if I would have been a better person.

You see, all these philosophical points, you only have to think about when the occasion occurs, and the only other thing I would like to say is, how wonderful the Indian troops were that fought with us. They were promised that if they fought with us against the Japs, everybody knows about the Sieks etc. but there were thousands of other regiments that fought for us against the Japs. We said, “If you’ll help us, if you come in with us, against the Japs, you will get independence at the end of the war. And they are the people that fought for Indian Independence. There were Indians who side with the Japs, because the Japs said, “If you come and side with us to beat the British, we’ll turn them out, you’ll get independence. Anybody who believed that from a Jap, wanted their brains testing. They treated Asian prisoners worse than white prisoners. They despised Asians, so they certainly weren’t going to fight for them to give then their country back. This upsets me when they say Chandra Bose was a freedom fighter to free India. He did not free India. The people that freed India were the men who fought for us. As for Chandra Bose, there’s a statue of him in Calcutta and I wouldn’t mind putting a bomb under it if I’d got one. No, but it’s not right. The people that sided with the Japs were not really fighting for Indian independence. How could anybody, knowing how the Japs behaved, think the Japs were going to fight for India then give them India? How could they?

Dr. Ivy Oates.