2d General HospitalUnit History

Group of Officers pertaining to the 2d General Hospital. Photo taken at Fort George G. Meade, Baltimore, Maryland, ZI, in April 1942.
First row, from L to R: Major Louis M. Rousselot, Major Maurice J. Hickey, Major Robert P. Ball, Major John E. Scarff, Major Robert S. Grinnell, Major Richmond L. Moore, Major Lawrence W. Sloan, Major Byron G. McKibben, Major Rudolph N. Schullinger, Lt. Colonel William B. Parsons, Colonel Paul M. Crawford (CO), Lt. Colonel Yale Kneeland Jr., Major Charles A. Flood, Major David D. Moore, Major Putnam C. Lloyd, Major Joseph C. Turner, Major Henry P. Colmore, Major Rollo J. Masselink, Major Paul B. Sheldon, Captain Carroll R. Rector.
Second row, from L to R: Captain Daniel N. Brown, Captain C. Dary Dunham, Captain Robert H. Wylie, Captain William B. Sherman, Captain William D. Province, Captain William H. Gillespie, Captain Carl R. Wise, Captain Herbert B. Wilcox Jr., Captain Samuel B. Childs, Captain Shirley C. Fisk, Captain Samuel Birenbach, Captain William Savoy, Captain Octa C. Leigh Jr., Captain Percival A. Robin, Captain John A. Nelson, Captain Allen A. Parry, Captain Robert Patterson, Captain Edmund P. Fowler Jr., Captain Frederick K. Heath, Captain Ferdinand P. Calhoun Jr., Captain Frank E. Stinchfield.
Third row, from L to R: Captain John N. Robinson, Captain William H. Stearns, Captain Rockwood Keith, Lieutenant Stuart S. Blauner, Lieutenant Arthur F. Hunter, Lieutenant Raymond C. Lesch, Lieutenant S. Ellsworth Davenport III, Lieutenant Robert I. Mason, Lieutenant Vincent L. Cottan (Chaplain), Lieutenant Meredith M. Dickinson, Lieutenant Robert A. Kritzler, Lieutenant Albert R. Lamb Jr., Lieutenant Roscoe I. McFadden, Lieutenant Ferdinand F. McAllister, Lieutenant Albert H. Levy, Lieutenant Lucius T. Wing, Lieutenant David V. Habif, Lieutenant Harry C. Diggs Jr., Lieutenant Norman T. Gottlieb, Lieutenant William H. Kroovand, Lieutenant Amiel Kirshbaum, Lieutenant Shelton M. Hutchison (Chaplain), Lieutenant David A. Levitch, Lieutenant Victor Dorf.

Introduction:

In March of 1940, Major General James C. Magee, Surgeon General, foreseeing America’s entry into the Second World War, had already plans ready to invite current hospitals operating in the Zone of Interior to develop and set up hospital units that could be used in the war to come. He also had invited Dr. Walter W. Palmer, President of the Presbyterian Hospital Medical Board in New York to contemplate developing a unit similar to Base Hospital No. 2 which Physicians and Nurses of the Presbyterian Hospital had staffed during the Great War. This request was dated 11 March 1940 and urged the Presbyterian Hospital to assume the responsibility of organizing the 2d General Hospital thus perpetuating the traditions of the former WW1 unit. Many Officers had acquired commissions in the Officers’ Reserve Corps (ORC) following the end of the Great War, and it was certain that a list of Nurses, Technicians and other qualified young men could be drawn in the event of a national emergency. The plan to set up the new hospital unit was approved by the Board and accepted and recognized by the Secretary for War in August 1940, and Dr. William Barclay Parsons (who received a commission as Lt. Colonel) was placed in  charge of organizing the unit (in order to provide Medical Officers for wartime hospitals, such as physicians, dentists, and nurses, the Surgeon General, Major General Charles  R. Reynolds, had already proposed in March of 1939 to revive the “affiliated units”, reserve units sponsored by civilian hospitals, medical schools, and universities that had been organized by the ARC and the WD during WW1 and had contributed substantially to Army hospital service in France –ed).

The new organization, designated the 2d General Hospital, affiliated to the Presbyterian Hospital, New York, N.Y., was gradually formed 31 January 1942 at Fort George G. Meade, Baltimore, Maryland (Army Ground Forces Replacement Center –ed). Individual Officers started joining the Post with the main contingent reporting for duty on 15 February 1942, the date the Hospital was officially activated. Before the end of the month, the entire complement of Medical Officers and Army Nurses had joined Fort Meade, where the Doctors, Nurses, and EM began their training to become soldiers.

Spring 1942. Officers of the 2d General Hospital at Fort George G. Meade, Baltimore, Maryland. From L to R: Major Rudolph N. Schullinger, Major John E. Scarff, Major David D. Moore, Major Henry P. Colmore, Captain William H. Stearns, First Lieutenant Meredith M. Dickinson.

Training:

Between the months of February and June 1942, staff and personnel were slowly indoctrinated into the rules and regulations of Uncle Sam’s Army. In between training, drill, marches, and field exercises, recreation was available, such as the Officers’ Club, the outdoor swimming pool, the golf course, and the week-end dances and parties. Across Fort George G. Meade were the endless corridors of the Post’s Station Hospital where everyone spent hours training on the job, working, learning and improving medical skills and handling the necessary medical paperwork. Daily training activities never stopped, with lectures on hospital organization, courts martial, gas attack and defense, movies on saluting, discipline, hygiene, sanitation, articles of war, aircraft identification, followed by more exercises including tent pitching, map and compass reading, road marches, and calisthenics. Not only did the Officers and Technicians prepare the respective equipment, by measuring and testing it, they also spent many hours signing forms and attending lectures and demonstrations. It should be noted that the Medical and Surgical Officers trained on the firing range in order to qualify with the .45 caliber automatic pistol and also had to endure the gas mask drill in the tear gas chamber as the men did!

During the training period, quite a few Officers were sent on DS to Walter Reed Hospital, Washington, DC. Others attended meetings of the American College of Physicians, the American Medical Association, or the American Urological Association, which all effectively brought their benefits later overseas. The period was hectic and trying, for everyone was aware that this would end one day with a regular assignment. Many Presbyterian Hospital visitors came to see the unit during training at Fort Meade.

Training at Fort George G. Meade. A group of personnel pertaining to the 2d General Hospital on a fifteen-mile road march.

Toward the end of June 1942, the unit was at its full complement for the only time during the war, for shortly thereafter, a number of Officers were detached to form the 23d Station Hospital (activated as a 250-bed Hospital unit 5 May 1942, at Fort Bragg, Fayetteville, North Carolina, Field Artillery Replacement Training Center, under command of Lt. Colonel William Casey, MC, served in USAFICA in 1942, in the MTO in 1943, and in the ETO in 1944 –ed), and in addition during the next three years of its existence, more Officers were to be individually detached to important positions in other hospital units or as Consultants in the various organizations operating under the Chief Surgeon, ETOUSA.

Preparation for Overseas Movement:

On 1 June 1942, orders were received to reduce the organization in size following the new T/O introduced for General Hospitals. The existing T/O 8-507 dated 15 June 1941 for a 1,000-bed Hospital authorized an aggregate strength of 73 Officers – 120 Nurses – and 500 Enlisted Men. It was amended in T/O 8-550 dated 1 April 1942  which now indicated a reduced total personnel strength of 56 Officers – 1 Warrant Officer – 105 Nurses – and 500 Enlisted Men. As a result of these changes a number of Officers were permanently detached to form the professional nucleus of the new 23d Station Hospital. With June almost gone, families residing near or on the Post had to leave for home and the Hospital then moved to Fort Dix, Wrightstown, New Jersey (Training and Pre-Staging Center –ed), which became its new home for eight days. The days were spent in packing, crating, sick calls, immunizations, last passes to New York, in exceedingly hot weather, followed by final departure for an overseas assignment. During this period, staff and personnel changed from summer khakis to od woolen uniforms, more comfortable with their new destination.

An advance party led by Major Lawrence W. Sloan and Captain William D. Province traveled to New York to inspect the “Duchess of Bedford” on which the 2d General Hospital would travel, and found her inadequately stocked with medical supplies for the care of about 4,000 troops about to embark on a two-week Atlantic crossing. With permission of the Presbyterian Hospital, supplies were completed from the hospital’s own pharmacy and transported down the West Side Highway to the ship’s pier.
Staff, personnel, and equipment were eventually taken by train to the Hudson River ferry, and across the river to begin embarkation.

The transport “Duchess of Bedford” (ex-CPR liner, successfully escaped Singapore 31 January 1942 –ed) left for the United Kingdom during the night of 30 June – 1 July 1942. During twelve days, approximately 4,500 Army personnel (also including an Eighth US Army Air Force contingent) and the ship’s crew battled the elements as the ship ploughed across the Atlantic part of a convoy zigzagging back and forth, which included 7 troopships, 1 battleship, 1 cruiser, and 11 destroyers. The rather large convoy suffered no accidents; there was gun drill, fire drill, and boat drill; the usual number of men were seasick, the usual number of small fortunes were won and lost in games; fresh water was only turned on twice a day; showers were taken with salt water; food was reasonably good; Officers were housed in cabins, and EM were crowded everywhere. The troop convoy completed an uneventful journey, except for an air raid alert on 12 July, during which the ship’s passengers were sealed off in their quarters, with most of the convoy continuing up the Firth of Clyde, except for the “Duchess of Bedford”, a small passenger ship RMS “Maloja” (ex-British ocean liner, converted for troop transportation –ed) and 2 accompanying destroyers, which steamed past the Isle of Man into Liverpool harbor.

United Kingdom:

The organization debarked 13 July 1942, and only then realized that Britain was at war. In spite of the new and beautiful scenery, a number of barrage balloons were strung over the city, and some sunken vessels remained half submerged in the shallow waters of the harbor, genuine signs of German bombing and war.

Aerial view of the “Churchill Hospital”, Headington (near Oxford), England, home to the 2d General Hospital from 20 July 1942 to 27 April 1944.

The first trip on land went to Whittington Barracks, brick buildings situated a few miles from the city of Lichfield, England. The journey was made by train, bus, and again by train, with the unit arriving in Lichfield at about 1500 hours. On 15 July 1942, Colonel Paul M. Crawford, CO, went to London and returned with the news that the 2d General Hospital had been assigned to the “Churchill Hospital” in Headington, near Oxford.
The 2d General Hospital sent over to England by the War Department was supposed to take over the Oxford medical facility and incorporate some of its civilian staff (“Churchill Hospital”, built in 1941, administered by 12 American Doctors, assisted by 50 American and Canadian Nurses, primarily built for reconstructive and plastic surgery, occupied an EMS-constructed British facility in Headington, Oxfordshire –ed). Unfortunately, the negotiations between Colonel Paul R. Hawley, MC, and the Hospital’s Director, Dr. Harlan Wilson broke down. It was furthermore found out that the unit was too large for the existing building and that there were no personnel vacancies for taking over volunteer Doctors and Nurses (some flatly refused to join and be commissioned into the US Army –ed). The 2d General Hospital finally did establish itself in the Oxford plant, which British Engineers enlarged to accommodate the unit.
Colonel Paul R. Crawford (Commanding Officer), Lt. Colonel Yale Kneeland (Chief Medical Service), and Captain Robert L. Patterson (Orthopedic Service) moved to the “Churchill Hospital” on 17 July, and were joined there on 22 July 1942 by Captain Frank E. Stinchfield (Orthopedic Service).

The unit arrived in time to help USAFBI / USANIF cope with an epidemic of serum hepatitis which had incapacitated quite a large number of troops in the United States and overseas (cause: contaminated yellow fever vaccine made with human serum –ed). Troops sent to the United Kingdom came down with hepatitis and before the epidemic passed its peak, approximately 2,000 soldiers in the European Theater had been affected!
Approximately half of the 2d General’s personnel was sent to Belfast, Northern Ireland, to reinforce the 5th General Hospital’s “convalescent” facility at Waringfield to meet this emergency. The group (including 19 Medical Officers, 40 Nurses, and a number of Enlisted personnel) departed 24 July entraining for Northern Ireland at 0630. At the time, everyone was hoping and praying that the whole 2d General Hospital would be re-united at the “Churchill Hospital” before the end of fall. The site at Waringfield was situated on farmland and consisted of a number of Nissen huts used as wards. During its stay in Northern Ireland, the 2d General Hospital Detachment was under the actual command of Lt. Colonel Thomas Lanman and Major Henry Pratt, both of the 5th General Hospital.
It would be late in 1942, before the Detachment returned to its parent unit. On 13 December 1942, the entire 2d General was finally reunited in Oxford. The last trucks brought back the personal belongings, foot lockers, bedding rolls, and bicycles, two days later. It should be noted that the unit received a Citation and special Commendation signed by the CG North Ireland Base Section for the splendid work it accomplished.
With the return of the special Detachment from Northern Ireland, many of the services were strengthened and enlarged. Eighteen Nissen huts were built to the south of the original brick buildings which allowed the organization to reach a bed capacity of approximately 1,000 to 1,100 beds.

July 1942. Picture of Colonel Paul M. Crawford, MC, Commanding Officer, 2d General Hospital.

After enjoying a colorful and fine Christmas Eve and an excellent Christmas Day (the unit’s first one overseas), the year 1943 would become a productive one for the 2d General.

Some of the many US Hospitals stationed in the United Kingdom devoted their attention to medical research. Medical Consultants and Hospital staff studied prevention and treatment of important diseases, surgical techniques, and properties and effects of new drugs. They collaborated with their British colleagues and other Allied Doctors and regularly incorporated the results of their research into clinical and administrative policies. This was especially the case with the new drug penicillin. ETO investigations centered at the 2d General Hospital and in mid-1942, Lt. Colonel Rudolph N. Schullinger, Chief Surgical Service at the Hospital, met Professor Howard Florey at an Oxford University reception, which ultimately led to research collaboration with the British Scientist. European Theater Medical Specialists ran their own penicillin tests after Major General Paul R. Hawley, procured the Theater’s FIRST 18 million penicillin units from the United States in May of 1943. They were sent to the organization for use in clinical investigations. A special Investigation Board was established including Chief Consultant in Surgery, Colonel Elliott C. Cutler; Chief Consultant in Medicine, Colonel William S. Middleton; and Lt. Colonel Rudolph N. Schullinger.
American Hospitals now used penicillin to treat soldiers with gas gangrene and other life-threatening infections, and in September 1944, began experimenting with application of penicillin during initial surgical treatment of the wounds of Eighth Army Air Force battle casualties, in order to determine if such use in frontline surgery would prevent or reduce infection. Training was further given to Medical Officers from US Army General Hospitals on the use and storage of the new drug.

Many Officers and Nurses continued to be sent to Schools and attended classes and lectures to improve and learn more techniques. At one time it was thought that the Hospital might be transferred to North Africa or the Mediterranean Theater, which caused some Officers to attend a two-week course at the London School of Tropical Medicine. In 1943 several unit members would attend the US Army Medical Field Service Shool at Shrivenham Barracks, Swindon (established 23 February 1943, with first courses starting 8 March 1943 –ed), while others spent weeks studying chemical warfare, ordnance problems, and field tactics. Younger Officers completed their postgraduate residency training, and others were sent on DS to other medical units to learn other skills. In line with the rapidly expanding US Army Air Forces in the United Kingdom, the Surgical and Orthopedic Services were constantly learning how to handle and treat gunshot wounds, frostbite injuries, burns, and cases of high-altitude anoxia, hitherto not well-known and documented. Indeed, at first the 2d General was almost the only organization to support the Eight Army Air Force during which period they treated a large number of flying personnel. There were many ocular injuries combined with others. Many cases treated were penetrating wounds caused by blasts, shards of plexiglass, and bits of aluminum and shrapnel, often accompanied by severe frostbite affecting the patient’s face and extremities. Occasional retinal damage or blindness with tail gunners having to gaze into the sun for enemy fighters attacking the formation without the protection of sunglasses was also one of the many diagnosed injuries.
Medical cases were also multiple and late in 1942 primary atypical pneumonia appeared in increasing numbers throughout the European Theater. Although it never reached further than mild epidemic proportions, the disease always remained a threat due to its non-seasonal incidence.

MC and ANC Officers pertaining to the Ophthalmology Service of the 2d General Hospital, at the “Churchill Hospital”, Headington (Oxford), England.

The 2d General was one of the 6 General Hospitals in the United Kingdom with facilities for the storage of whole blood and operated a small Blood Bank of its own (already starting mid-1943). The blood originated from a British civilian donor group allotted to it by the Royal British Army Transfusion Service which contained the names of 800 persons living in the neighborhood, augmented by Hospital personnel. Bleedings took place once a week. The blood was not only destined for the Hospital’s patients but also supplied to a local EMS Hospital.

Stations in the United Kingdom – 2d General Hospital
Headington > 20 July 1942 – 27 April 1944
Salisbury Plain > 29 April 1944 – 22 July 1944

Total Admissions – 2d General Hospital
14,950 Patients

Total Operations – 2d General Hospital
2,904 Operations

In 1942 and 1943, several promotions were announced, romances developed and the first engagements became known, leading to some local weddings, followed by offspring. Socializing never was a real problem. With the arrival of additional medical units from the Zone of Interior, both the 2d and 5th General Hospitals received personnel on temporary duty to learn medical practice and receive on the job training. On 29 March 1943, Major Frank E. Stinchfield, was detached from the unit to become Chief of Orthopedic Service at Rehabilitation Center No. 1, which started operations on 7 April. In February 1944, he would be appointed Supervisor of all Convalescent Rehabilitation in the United Kingdom Base (at the same time retaining command of the 826th Convalescent Center; he continued this important work throughout the war in Europe, was eventually promoted to full Colonel, and awarded the Legion of Merit for his excellent work –ed). Major Edmund P. Fowler worked as a Consultant to the Army Air Forces from December 1942 to December 1944, and in May 1944 he was appointed Chief Otolaryngology Service at the 47th General Hospital.

General view opf Nurses’ quarters, 2d General Hospital, Headington (Oxford), England.

Chief Nurse Marjorie Peto, was promoted to Captain in May of 1943 along with 2 other ANC First Lieutenants. Twenty-one (21) other Nurses received a promotion to First Lieutenant. Weddings continued to take place, among personnel of the Hospital proper, and romances even developed between Nurses and some of their patients, with church services always followed by elaborate receptions and parties. As a matter of fact the 2d’s Commanding officer gave more than one bride away. During June and July 1943, the Hospital was flooded with inspections, and to compensate for the extra efforts, Bob Hope entertained staff, personnel, and patients. On 19 August 1943, First Lieutenant Jessie M. Ada Mutch (Assistant Chief Nurse) left the 2d General Hospital to become Chief Nurse at the 120th Station Hospital (Major J. M. Mutch was eventually appointed Director of Nursing with the 807th Hospital Center –ed). In November, the 2d was confronted with a significant outbreak of influenza “A”, which after reaching a peak in December was quickly repulsed. Troops returning from the Mediterranean Theater brought with them an increasing number of cases of malaria which had to be dealt with. Another Officer, Major Samuel Birenbach, left the organization 26 December 1943 to become Chief of Maxillo-Facial Service and Consultant Oral Surgery at the 15th Hospital Center. Lt. Colonel Joseph C. Turner was also permanently detached from the unit after being appointed Chief of Medical Service at the 154th General Hospital in late January. And it continued, with Lt. Colonel Louis M. Rousselot, former Executive Officer, departing on 12 February 1944 to become Commanding Officer of the 108th General Hospital. Major Carl R. Wise was the next Officer to leave in April 1944 in order to take over the job of Chief of Medicine at the 94th General Hospital.

Change of Station:

On 29 April 1944 the “Churchill Hospital” was officially turned over to the 91st General Hospital. The unit then commenced a two-month stay in the field, first at Pinkney Park (bivouacking under tentage), near Bristol, followed by another period at Parkhouse “B”, between Tidworth and famous Stonehenge. All personnel was housed in M-1934 pyramidal tents (4 persons to a tent) with the necessary folding cots. The unit’s 83 Nurses were sent to the 25th General Hospital at the large Cirencester Hospital Center, and were only to join the main group two weeks later, upon which the entire organization underwent a period of training, marches and field living conditions on Salisbury Plain.
Days were filled with exercises, softball games, cross-country hikes, and an occasional visit to a nearby obstacle course. Each day started at 0610, with reveille by bugle sound, followed after breakfast by various orientation lectures and training.

During the months spent at the “Churchill Hospital”, the patients treated by the unit mainly consisted of ground and air combat personnel belonging to the US Army Air Forces and of combat and service troops of the United States Army in training in the United Kingdom.

Officers of the 2d General Hospital during their stay in England. From L to R: Major John E. Scarff, Major Henry P. Colmore, Captain William Blodgett, Major Carl R. Wise.

Early June 1944, Lt. Colonel Henry P. Colmore, left the unit to become Chief of Medicine at the 22d General Hospital. He was followed by more Officers who left to serve in other units, which gradually lowered the original Officer group to only 22 individuals. Captain David V. Habif left on 29 June 1944 on assignment to the 82d Airborne Division. The planned invasion of the continent was to take place in June, but no specific alert orders had been received by the 2d’s Headquarters. On the night preceding the actual Invasion (5 June 1944), the unit was awakened by the steady stream of aircraft and gliders filled with troopers belonging to the “All American” Division, and the next morning the Hospital received official word that D-Day had started! Following this period, a few Officers, including Lt. Colonel Rudolph N. Schullinger and Major Herbert B. Wilcox, Jr. were assigned to other Hospitals in the southern coast of England to do triage work on patients arriving by modified LSTs (LST (H) vessels) or air from France.        

Alert orders had meanwhile been received, informing that the 2d General Hospital was scheduled to cross the Channel on D+21. Unfortunately bad weather delayed departure for nearly a month.

Personnel Roster:

Officers (May 1942 – July 1944)

Commanding Officer – Colonel Paul M. Crawford, MC (1942 – 1945)
Executive Officer / Adjutant – Major Byron G. McKibben, MAC
Medical Supply Officer – Captain Richard F. Odenweller, MAC
Mess Officer – Captain Roy E. Smith, MAC
Chaplain – 1st Lieutenant Vincent L. Cottan, ChC 
Chaplain – Captain Shelton M. Hutchison, ChC
Chaplain – Captain James C. Schruefer, ChC

Moving, 29-30 April 1944. Officers and Enlisted personnel waiting to entruck for a new Station, somewhere in England …

Surgical Service Medical Service
Lt. Colonel William B. Parsons, Jr., MC Lt. Colonel Yale Kneeland, Jr., MC (Chief)
Major Robert S. Grinnell, MC Major Henry P. Colmore, MC
Major Richmond L. Moore, MC Major Charles A. Flood, MC
Major Louis M. Rousselot, MC Major Putnam C. Lloyd, MC (Asst Chief)
Major Rudolph N. Schullinger, MC (Chief) Major David D. Moore, MC
Major Lawrence W. Sloan, MC (Asst Chief) Captain Stuart S. Blauner, MC
Captain Samuel B. Childs, MC Captain Daniel N. Brown, MC
Captain Rockwood Keith, MC Captain Dary C. Dunham, MC
Captain Octa C. Leigh, Jr., MC Captain Shirley C. Fisk, MC
Captain John A. Nelson, MC Captain William H. Gillespie, MC
Captain Robert H. Wylie, MC Captain Allen A. Parry, MC
1st Lieutenant Meredith M. Dickinson, MC Captain William D. Province, MC
1st Lieutenant David V. Habif, MC Captain William B. Sherman, MC
1st Lieutenant Albert H. Levy, MC Captain William H. Stearns, MC
1st Lieutenant Ferdinand F. McAllister, MC Captain Herbert B. Wilcox, Jr., MC
1st Lieutenant Elmer K. Sanders, MC Captain Carl R. Wise, MC
1st Lieutenant Albert R. Lamb, Jr., MC
Dental Service 1st Lieutenant Lucius T. Wing, MC
Major Maurice J. Hickey, MC
Captain Samuel Birenbach, DC Laboratory Service
Captain Raymond C. Lesch, DC Major Joseph C. Turner, MC
Captain William J. Savoy, DC Captain Frederick K. Heath, MC
1st Lieutenant S. Ellsworth Davenport, III, DC 1st Lieutenant Robert A. Kritzler, MC
1st Lieutenant Robert I. Mason, DC
Neurology Service
Neurosurgical Service Major Rollo J. Masselink, MC
Major John E. Scarff, MC
Ophthalmology Service
Orthopedic Service Major Rollo J. Masselink, MC
Captain Vincent M. Iovine, MC
Captain Robert Patterson, MC Otolaryngology Service
Captain Frank E. Stinchfield, MC Captain Edmund P. Fowler, Jr., MC
Radiology Service Urology Service
Major Robert P. Ball, MC Captain John N. Robinson, MC
Captain Percival A. Robin, MC
1st Lieutenant Arthur F. Hunter, MC

Partial view of the new setup of the 2d General Hospital at Lison, France, the organization’s new station from 15 August 1944 to 16 November 1944. In the foreground runs a section of the “Red Ball Express” highway.

Note: When stationed in Britain, an Anesthesiology and X-Ray Service were set up under the command of Captain Elmer K. Sanders, and Major Robert P. Ball, respectively.
Until the Senior Medical Consultants arrived in ETOUSA, Major Robert P. Ball was appointed Consultant in Radiology, and Captain Edmund P. Fowler, Jr. was appointed Consultant in Otolaryngology, in addition to their regular duties.

Nurses (July 1942)

Chief Nurse – Captain Marjorie Peto, ANC
Assistant Chief Nurse – 2d Lieutenant J. M. Ada Mutch, ANC

2d Lieutenant Martha Aiken, ANC 2d Lieutenant Antoinette Antetomaso, ANC
2d Lieutenant Margaret Armstrong, ANC 2d Lieutenant Elizabeth Baker, ANC
2d Lieutenant Rose Barrett, ANC 2d Lieutenant Clara Batchelder, ANC
2d Lieutenant Evelyn Bedara, ANC 2d Lieutenant Alice Beet, ANC
2d Lieutenant Florence Bestman, ANC 2d Lieutenant Blanche Bickel, ANC
2d Lieutenant Jean Biddle, ANC 2d Lieutenant Mary Brundage, ANC
2d Lieutenant Maude Cadwell, ANC 2d Lieutenant Mercedes Castille, ANC
2d Lieutenant Mary Chanda, ANC 2d Lieutenant Eleanor Chase, ANC
2d Lieutenant Doris Cone, ANC 2d Lieutenant Joyce Connor, ANC
2d Lieutenant Margaret Cordes, ANC 2d Lieutenant Frances Cuerier, ANC
2d Lieutenant Edna Danielson, ANC 2d Lieutenant Clara Darling, ANC
2d Lieutenant Janis David, ANC 2d Lieutenant Katherine Davis, ANC
2d Lieutenant Julia Delafield, ANC 2d Lieutenant Mary Ann Delaney, ANC
2d Lieutenant Ruth Dickensheets, ANC 2d Lieutenant Katherine Edwards, ANC
2d Lieutenant Evelyn Elwood, ANC 2d Lieutenant Ann Everett, ANC
2d Lieutenant Florence Farrington, ANC 2d Lieutenant Margaret Finn, ANC
2d Lieutenant Elizabeth Fisher, ANC 2d Lieutenant Ina Forbush, ANC
2d Lieutenant Dorothy Gallagher, ANC 2d Lieutenant Constance Gough, ANC
2d Lieutenant Dorothy Hagner, ANC 2d Lieutenant Dorothy Hall, ANC
2d Lieutenant Mildred Hallock, ANC 2d Lieutenant Loulie Hampton, ANC
2d Lieutenant Dorothy Hastings, ANC 2d Lieutenant Josephine Head, ANC
2d Lieutenant Marie Heller, ANC 2d Lieutenant Aileen Hogan, ANC
2d Lieutenant Janet Hopkins, ANC 2d Lieutenant Charlotte Ives, ANC
2d Lieutenant Katharine Ives, ANC 2d Lieutenant Esther Johnson, ANC
2d Lieutenant Sybil Johnson, ANC 2d Lieutenant Vera Johnson, ANC
2d Lieutant Lydia Jordan, ANC 2d Lieutenant Ella Kauffman, ANC
2d Lieutenant Geraldine Keefer, ANC 2d Lieutenant Louisa Kent, ANC
2d Lieutenant Elizabeth King, ANC 2d Lieutenant Bernice Knowles, ANC
2d Lieutenant Alice Lundin, ANC 2d Lieutenant Gertrude Martin, ANC
2d Lieutenant Ruth McBrien, ANC 2d Lieutenant Dorothy McMullen, ANC
2d Lieutenant Emily McMullen, ANC 2d Lieutenant Margaret Mearns, ANC
2d Lieutenant Willetta Mosser, ANC 2d Lieutenant Ruth Owen, ANC
2d Lieutenant Ruth Page, ANC 2d Lieutenant Margaret Peters, ANC
2d Lieutenant Matilda Provost, ANC 2d Lieutenant Carrie Purnell, ANC
2d Lieutenant Mildred Quackenbush, ANC 2d Lieutenant Margaret Racz, ANC
2d Lieutenant Elizabeth Rapp, ANC 2d Lieutenant Dorothy Reichling, ANC
2d Lieutenant Katherine Reeves, ANC 2d Lieutenant Margaret Reid, ANC
2d Lieutenant Caroline Renski, ANC 2d Lieutenant Marie Rickman, ANC
2d Lieutenant Dorothy Robinson, ANC 2d Lieutenant Anna Root, ANC
2d Lieutenant Reba Rush, ANC 2d Lieutenant Ilse Sandmann, ANC
2d Lieutenant Gladys Schroeder, ANC 2d Lieutenant Emily Schweitzer, ANC
2d Lieutenant Elizabeth Smith, ANC 2d Lieutenant Jean Smith, ANC
2d Lieutenant Laura Smith, ANC 2d Lieutenant Virginia E. Smith, ANC
2d Lieutenant Virginia Staten, ANC 2d Lieutenant Angela Strambi, ANC
2d Lieutenant Mary Swallen, ANC 2d Lieutenant Gladys Swayze, ANC
2d Lieutenant Arnot Todd, ANC 2d Lieutenant Mary Ellen Van Horn, ANC
2d Lieutenant Naomi Waldvogel, ANC 2d Lieutenant Helen Walker, ANC
2d Lieutenant Clarissa Walsh, ANC 2d Lieutenant Joyce Walther, ANC
2d Lieutenant Norine Webster, ANC 2d Lieutenant Florence West, ANC
2d Lieutenant Marion Whitfield, ANC 2d Lieutenant Margaret Whitney, ANC
2d Lieutenant Ruth Willey, ANC 2d Lieutenant Edana Wohlfarth, ANC
2d Lieutenant Madeleine Young, ANC

Summer of 1944. Outdoor mess line, washing kits in immersion heaters, at Lison, France.

American Red Cross Workers

Mary Ann Brugger, ARC Shirley Collins, ARC
Josha Hart, ARC Haidee Scott, ARC
May Witt, ARC
Dental Hygienist Hospital Dietitian
Mary Carnell Constance Swingle, HD

Physical Therapy Aides

Marie Merrill, PT Virginia Randall, PT
Tova Schwartz, PT

France:

On 22 July 1944 the Hospital finally headed for the Continent! The organization entrucked for the Winchester Marshalling Area, driving through an overcast morning to Southampton harbor, to board the freighter “Lady of Man”. For the 30 hours that the unit was on board, they lived on 10-in-1 rations, slowly traveling to an anchorage point off the Isle of Wight, waiting for darkness, and mine-free lanes before heading for the French coast. On 24 July 1944, a cloudless day, the ship approached the French coastline near Cherbourg and set for Utah Beach. Upon arrival, an LCT came alongside to take everyone off to one of the floating piers that dotted the sandy beach. It was about 1600 hours when the group assembled in the dunes to be welcomed by Major Lawrence W. Sloan and First Lieutenant David Potter, who had come across a few days earlier with the major hospital equipment. Trucks were acquired for the Officers and the Nurses, while the Enlisted Men headed on foot to Assembly Area “B” eight miles away. The walk went through farmland and one small village, scarred by the war, with multiple bomb craters, damaged houses and trees, abandoned equipment, littered ration cartons and empty tins, spent shell casings, and abandoned communication wire reels … after a break, and K rations for supper, the personnel of the 2d General Hospital were transported by 2½-ton trucks to Carentan where they were temporarily boarded with the 50th General Hospital for quarters and rations (the place was St. Hilaire-Petitville –ed). Ward tents were awaiting the Officers and the Nurses, with ample ground for the EM to pitch their individual tents. The unit was now attached to the Advance Section, Communications Zone (ADSEC ComZ).

26 November 1944. Enroute to Revigny-sur-Ornain, France. Officers traveling in third-class railcars. From L to R: Captain Frederick K. Heath, Captain Robert A. Krizler, Major William J. Savoy, Captain Albert R. Lamb Jr., and Second Lieutenant Lawrence Connell.

(in 1944, a newly-amended T/O 8-550 dated 3 July 1944 was introduced authorizing a total strength of 55 Officers – 1 Warrant Officer – 83 Nurses – and 450 Enlisted Men, applicable to a 1,000-bed General Hospital).

The next days were spent digging foxholes, washing and shaving in helmets, and preparing food from the 10-in-1 ration boxes. The Hospital was to establish its first home at Lison, France (southeast of Carentan), an important rail and motor junction in the Cotentin Peninsula. The actual location consisted of several cow pastures totaling 60 acres, where the necessary cement foundations had been laid down for a 1,000-bed hospital. During the three weeks required for construction, the younger unit Officers would be formed into small shock and surgical teams and sent on DS to assist other hospitals closer to the ongoing fighting, mainly to Evacuation and Field Hospitals. These teams were actively involved with assisting both the 44th and the 2d Evacuation Hospitals in Normandy.
When operating at maximum capacity, the teams received in excess of 500 admissions in only twenty-four hours. As most of them were surgical cases, it became necessary to run 6 operating tables continuously on two 12-hour shifts in order to maintain as low mortality figures as possible.

Stations in France – 2d General Hospital
Lison > 15 August 1944 > 16 November 1944

The layout of the Hospital was quite unique as all tentage in its main portion, from admission to post-operative wards was lashed together, making room for initial triage, a shock ward, an x-ray tent, an OR area, a post-operative ward, and the corridors/passage ways leading from one area to another. The less serious cases were lined up along the tent corridor between triage and operating area; the most seriously injured, in pre-shock or in shock, were sidetracked to the shock ward, where 15 cots were waiting. Supervision of the patients was constant, and vital signs were carefully watched accompanied by blood pressure readings, close observation of wounds, and the appropriate use of morphine and IV fluids.

The detached teams were called back as the 2d General Hospital was now ready for operation. Two ward tents holding 30 beds had been placed end to end on cement slabs and arranged in blocks of five, that could function as separate units, for ablutions, work, and washing. All these were connected by electricity, communications, and limited running water. Personnel initially housed in ward tents eventually moved to pyramidal tents. After a while, the hospital complex looked complete, with gravel paths laid, and wooden floors becoming available in each tent, supplemented by a coal stove, folding cots, and clothes hangers. As long as the weather permitted, chow was served and eaten outdoors.
Starting 10 August 1944, the wards rapidly filled with wounded evacuated from the forward areas, some to be operated on, and others waiting for transportation to the United Kingdom or to the Zone of Interior. At the same time many injuries occurred on the “Red Ball Highway”, with much of the necessary surgery being accomplished at the 2d. During the period, some Officers came in as replacements. It however soon became apparent that with so many members of the original unit having left, a difficult task remained ahead to try and run the organization as efficiently as possible. The drain on the original talent since 1942 had been great but at the same time newer, though inadequately staffed units arrived from the States to reinforce medical units on the Continent.
By late fall of 1944, the Hospital had increasingly become a holding unit and it was time to leave Normandy and head for eastern France, in the wake of the advancing Allied Armies. On 1 November 1944, the 189th General Hospital, recently transferred overseas, arrived and bivouacked in the fields adjoining the 2d General. Their Officers and Nurses worked with the latter in preparation for taking over the plant at 2400 hours, 16 November. At that point the unit had already admitted and treated over 4,000 patients.

Change of Station:

On 16 November 1944, Major Lawrence W. Sloan, Lt. Colonel Fred Endres, Captain Julian Romaine, and First Lieutenant David Potter, plus 50 Enlisted Men entrucked for Revigny-sur-Ornain to the Quartier “André Maginot”, where the Hospital was to be quartered until the reserved group of buildings in Nancy, France, was readied for occupancy. On 23 November 1944 60 ANC Officers under command of Major Herbert B. Wilcox, Jr., left for Paris, the French Capital, where they were to serve on DS in various hospitals stationed in that area, until the complete 2d General Hospital could once again operate under normal conditions (planned for January 1945). The next morning, around 1130, the first group comprising 8 Officers, 32 Nurses, and 190 EM, left Lison with Lt. Colonel Putnam C. Lloyd in charge. The other half commanded by Lt. Colonel Rudolph N. Schullinger departed with 31 Officers and 189 Enlisted Men. During the journey, it seemed that the French in that part of the country had apparently suffered less during war. The last convoy under Lt. Colonel Schullinger reached the Gare St. Lazare (Paris) at approximately 0130 hours, 25 November 1944. The group headed by Lt. Colonel Putnam C. Lloyd had already arrived in Paris together with a number of personnel, baggage, and equipment. Transfer of people and equipment through Paris and assembly at the Gare St. Lazare took close to 6 hours, allowing very little time for rest before loading commenced at 0900 sharp on a train bound east. At 1000 hours, 26 November, the train left for Revigny-sur-Ornain, with in addition a Detachment from the 5th General Hospital. The French barracks were a most welcome change from living under tentage. There was electricity, central heating, and running water. While there, it was soon learned that the 2d was to move into the “Charles-Emmanuel Sédillot Military Hospital” in Nancy, (liberated 15 September 1944 –ed) currently occupied by the 12th Evacuation Hospital. It would however take several weeks to move forward, pending departure of the 12th Evac and some necessary changes to be implemented in the existing buildings. In the meantime, teams were sent on DS to forward medical units of General Patton’s Third United States Army (among which the 30th Field Hospital –ed). By the end of the first week of  January 1945, the teams had been recalled to the 2d in Nancy. It must be said that the 1944-1945 winter was one of the most severe ones in western Europe.

General view of the 2d General Hospital entrance, at Nancy, France. The unit’s new home was the French “Charles-Emmanuel Sédillot Military Hospital”, where it operated from 18 January 1945 to 25 August 1945.

During December 1944 a great amount of work was done to upgrade the existing Nancy Hospital. New equipment was acquired to equip a number of extra surgical and medical wards. Because of the extremely cold winter weather, drills were required to break up the frozen ground for laying concrete platforms in the new structures. Quite some cleaning and refurbishing was necessary before the pre-WW1 complex could be fully used. During the last week of December, the various Officers, Nurses, and EM who had remained in Revigny-sur-Ornain were to move into Nancy where preparations were slowly made for the turnover of the entire medical complex to the 2d General Hospital.  The departure was however delayed because of the outbreak of the large German counter offensive in the Belgian Ardennes. Therefore only a skeleton crew of the two Hospitals (12th Evac + 2d General –ed) ran a small station hospital in the rehabilitated part of the building for about 100 patients. On 4 January 1945, Major Robert Patterson started several days of inspecting the General Hospitals which made up the 819th Hospital Center (with Headquarters at Bar-le-Duc –ed) including such units as the 5th General – 50th General  – 58th General – 99th General – and the 100th General Hospitals. That very day, 30 Nurses who had been detached in the Paris area returned to the 2d General. A glider, manned by personnel of the 12th Evacuation Hospital successfully landed a load of fresh blood from the 2d’s own Blood Bank, for the beleaguered American troops at Bastogne, Belgium. All 10 shock and surgical teams were withdrawn on 8 January 1945, and it was only on 12 January 1945 that the 2d General Hospital officially took over the Nancy Hospital!

Stations in France – 2d General Hospital
Nancy > 18 January 1945 – 25 August 1945

The 2d General Hospital was to form the 820th Hospital Center with Headquarters at Nancy, France, together with the 19th General – 127th General – and 173d General Hospitals. With the German offensive under control by the Allies, the unit was prepared for a busy winter and spring. By this time only 20 of the original Medical officers and 76 ANC Officers remained with the unit! Fortunately, some replacements had joined the organization. Work started only gradually with a mere 500 beds in operation by mid-January. At first, the 2d actually served as station hospital, but as transportation routes improved and more vehicles were involved, increasing numbers of combat wounded were admitted, so that the Hospital grew to a 1,000-bed facility, even evolving to almost 1,500 beds. In the beginning there was a preponderance of medical cases, they were however soon replaced by surgical and orthopedic patients. Trench foot and frostbite were common problems too, and a serious problem of methyl alcohol poisoning was also discovered, resulting in 5 deaths.
A number of promotions were celebrated on 8 March, some Officers returned home for family reasons, and others were sent on an exchange basis to other medical installations. A dance was organized on 24 March, followed by an Easter Service in the Hospital chapel, and more celebrations. The sudden death of the Commander-in-Chief, President D. Roosevelt, on 12 April 1945 brought sadness and worry to many in the unit (no one seemed to know his successor, President Harry Truman –ed).

On 3 May 1945, Colonel Paul M. Crawford, the unit’s CO, received transfer orders sending him to command the 819th Hospital Center at Bar-le-Duc, France. Lt. Colonel Putnam C. Lloyd temporarily took the position the next day, remaining as Commanding Officer through most of May 1945.
Following V-E Day, the unit saw a variety of Officers leaving, returning, or transferring. Late May 1945, Colonel Louis M. Rousselot (who had commanded the 108th General Hospital in Paris) returned to the 2d General Hospital as the new and final Commanding Officer of the unit. During the same month a wedding ceremony took place among members of the unit (the first of four taking place during the organization’s stay in Nancy –ed). More promotions followed in June, with Colonels Robert Patterson and Rudolph N. Schullinger being awarded the Legion of Merit for their exceptional work. Two Officers received orders to return permanently to the Zone of Interior, once more depleting the senior Officers’ ranks. The remaining unit members and replacements did their best working long hours and maintaining a satisfactory level of practice, as the unit was going through the Redeployment program in full progress in the European Theater of Operations.

Total Admissions – 2d General Hospital
12,532 Patients

Total Operations – 2d General Hospital
2,376 Operations

Return to Zone of Interior:

The ranks continued to thin, Officers left for the States, others were re-assigned, or were attending special classes in France and in the United Kingdom. By early August, only 11 Officers of the original unit remained …

Picture of the USAT “General M. C. Meigs” (AP-116), which sailed from Marseille, Southern France, 3 October 1945, with destination the Zone of Interior. On board were Officers, Nurses, and Enlisted Men of the 2d General Hospital (and other units) on their way to inactivation and discharge.

25 August 1945, it was time for the 2d General Hospital to return stateside. The Hospital ceased all operations (leaving about 1,000 patients still under treatment) and turned over the installation to the 68th General Hospital at midnight, Sunday, 26 November 1945, after which it went bivouacking at the site formerly occupied by the 240th General Hospital. After packing, all the Medical Doctors and Nurses entrained for a three-day journey to Marseille, Southern France. While the male Officers were housed in large staging barracks outside the port area, the Nurses were quartered in a recreational resort near Marseille.
The Medical Officers were eventually grouped, sent to Paris for staging, and flew out on 2 October 1945 aboard C-54 aircraft to Washington in the frame of the “Green Project”. The Nurses had to wait for transportation, and sailed the following day (3 October 1945) on the USAT “General M. C. Meigs” (AP-116), reaching Hampton Roads POE, Virginia, on the east coast by 12 October (traveling with them were 3 Officers of the 2d, as well as 33 Officers from other units, 153 Nurses, and 700 Enlisted personnel) . They were then taken to Camp Patrick Henry, and eventually transferred to Fort Dix and other Separation Centers to be officially discharged.

Campaign Awards – 2d General Hospital
Northern France
Ardennes-Alsace


Above unit History was based on vintage documents and the MRC Staff also used large excerpts from the book “The 2nd General Hospital – World War II – 1942 to 1945” written by First Lieutenant Albert R. Lamb, Jr., MC, and published in 1997. Quite a number of paragraphs and illustrations are courtesy of the book’s author. Dr. Albert Richard Lamb, Jr.,a graduate of Taft School, Yale University, and Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, took internship and residency at The Presbyterian Hospital, New York City, and served with the Medical Service of the affiliated 2d General Hospital both in the Zone of Interior and overseas. The MRC Staff are still looking for more information relating to the last phase of the 2d General Hospital’s overseas service, while stationed in the European Theater, and an updated personnel roster. Sincere thanks.

This page was printed from the WW2 US Medical Research Centre on 23rd June 2018 at 19:59.
Read more: https://www.med-dept.com/unit-histories/2d-general-hospital/