World War 2 Stories for Sheffield

                            Jessie Hall 

Nursing in a convalescent home for servicemen

By Actiondesk Sheffield

People in story: Jessie Hall, Miss Warmold, Miss Barlow
Location of story: Nun Monkton Priory, between Harrogate and York
Unit name: St. John Ambulance Brigade
Background to story: Civilian Force                                          

 The photograph was taken on December 27, 1942 and shows Jessie Hall (Nee Pridmore) at the far back in the centre of the three girls stood  between the two columns

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Roger Marsh of the ‘Action Desk – Sheffield’ Team on behalf of Jessie Hall.

Nursing in a convalescent home for servicemen

Jessie Hall

When the war broke out I was in the St. John Ambulance Brigade. My call up was to be sent to a place called Nun Monkton priory, which was and still is in the village on Nun Monkton which is between Harrogate and York.

The staff was made up of St. John Ambulance Brigade and the Red Cross. The Matron and Sister where hospital staff. For the Red Cross Miss Warmold was the quarter master and for the St. John Ambulance it was Miss Barlow who was the Commandant. There was also a corporal and a P.T. Sergeant who where army personnel.

The army personal had their quarters up in the attic in the priory its self. The senior staff down stairs in the priory and we nurses stayed in the cottages. The Priory was quite big; it housed 50 Servicemen, many from the "Nabum Hospital" in York.

After I had been at the priory for about one month nurse Brown and I where sent on a refresher course the York Country Hospital for two weeks. While we where there w stayed in a vicarage, we had to sleep in the attic which was rather scary as on a couple of occasions the sirens sounded.

I remember I was on duty one afternoon where a new intake was due, I got rather a shock on opening the door to be faced with twenty or more black faces and in the centre was one white face - he was the driver. The soldiers had arrived in this country from Jamaica in the winter and promptly went down with flu. There was not a lot of actual nursing, but more giving medicines and dressings, but we did have other jobs to do.

We nurses sometimes let the men borrow our bikes to go into York. On one of the occasion's when we where looking out for them to return, three of them weaving from side to side on the bikes, it looked obvious that they had had a drop to much to drink.

On one occasion we had a garden party, with different Stand's, one was a coconut shy with heads of Hitler and Mussolini. After the party was over some of the men then dressed one head in a pair of pyjamas, stuffed the legs in a pair of boots, then sat them on a chair at the bottom of one of the men's bed, with the hands laid on the lap with a book hopping that I would jump when I made my night round, but I was half warned what was in store for me. But I must say I looked very real.

Over the years I was stationed there we had some happy times with all the men going back to their units, as we did not lose any to death.
I enjoyed my time at "Nun Monkton Priory" we had good food even though we had rations the same as everyone else. The Priory was roughly about two and a half miles from the main road so it paid to have a bike so that on your day off you were able to get to the main road to catch a bus into York or in my case to Harrogate.