19th Jul, 2018

Royal Orthopaedic Hospital marks 75th anniversary of its Second World War bombing

Anu Shukla 30th Dec, 2015 Updated: 17th Oct, 2016

PATIENTS and staff at Northfield’s Royal Orthopaedic Hospital marked 75 years since the day of its bombing during the Second World War when it released a film on the anniversary of the attack.

The short online film entitled, Courage and Compassion, features one of the hospital’s modern matrons reading the account by the hospital matron at the time, Fanny Smith.

It also includes historic footage of the hospital, alongside more modern images.

In addition, an online time capsule contains the full text of Fanny Smith’s account, along with that of one of the staff nurses, and other images and films of that time.

The attack, which took place in the very early hours of November 23 1940, claimed the lives of two nurses – Sisters Galloway and Daniels, who were killed while eating their evening meal.

Four bombs fell in total, with events described in an account written by Fanny Smith.

She wrote: “The patients who were in the side ward were not hurt, but one man had a slight cut on the forehead, and the beds were covered in glass.

“The patients were wonderfully brave, so many were helpless but none complained. The sisters and nurses worked hard to move the patients under cover of another ward. The cooks made tea for everyone.”

Seventy-five years on, many of the buildings mentioned in the account are still standing today, and nurses continue to be at the heart of orthopaedic care at the hospital – a national leader in treating bone cancer and spinal deformity.

Chief executive officer, Jo Chambers said: “It is important we mark the courage of those staff who did all they could to protect their colleagues and patients that night 75 years ago.

“It is astonishing that Matron Fanny Smith and her nurses managed to keep the hospital running during such a traumatic time.

“I am just as proud of today’s nurses, who work hard day in, day out, to care for the many patients who spend time here, undergoing minor and major procedures.

Go to www.roh.nhs.uk/blitz to view the film and find out more.

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