6th General HospitalUnit History

Partial aerial view of Camp Blanding, Starke, Florida, and shores of Kingsley Lake. The temporary ‘home’ of the 6th General Hospital.

Introduction:

On 7 December 1941, the United States was attacked by Japan. With the planned reorganization of the United States Armed Forces, ways and means of returning some old units to active duty (which served in World War One) were set in motion, and on 15 May 1942, the official activation of the 6th General Hospital called into life the old Base Hospital No. 6 under the leadership of Colonel Thomas R. Goethals, MC, O-219439.

In January 1943, the Hospital unit entrained for Camp Kilmer, Staging Area, New Jersey. Embarkation took place at New York Harbor, with final departure for overseas after a 2-week preparation. French Morocco became the unit’s first station overseas. Next stop was Algeria, followed by a further move to Italy, the Hospital’s second station. The collapse of enemy forces and Victory in Europe, left the 6th General Hospital ready, but in fact no longer needed. It remained in Italy for a number of months, until it was officially inactivated 15 September 1945.

Colonel Thomas R. Goethals, MC, US Army, Commanding Officer of the 6th General Hospital from 15 May 1942 until 19 March 1945.

Affiliation & Activation:

The 1000-bed 6th General Hospital, affiliated to the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston was formally activated at Camp Blanding, Starke, Florida, on 15 May 1942 (pursuant to AGO Letter A.G. 320.2 MR-M-GN dated 30 April 1942). One of the objects of the War Department in establishing affiliated organizations was to start new medical units with well-trained professional staffs whose members had worked together in civilian Hospitals. At the MGH in Boston the organization of Medical and Surgical Services already began in spring of 1940.

At the specific request of the US Army Surgeon General, the 6th General Hospital was authorized and recruited in May of 1940. The first commissions already came through in September. It was therefore possible to start a course of ‘inactive duty’ training 2 evenings a month at the MGH. In February 1941, the CO of the Station Hospital, Camp Blanding, received WD orders to establish a cadre of 1 Officer and 13 EM to form the 63d General Hospital. 1st Lt. Robert L. Shaw was selected and assumed command of the cadre. On 15 February 1941, 1st Lt. William S. Worthy (the first of 5 Officers already on active service), reported for duty with the 63d GH, relieving Lt. Robert Shaw.

By May of 1941, 85 Nurses had been accepted for war service, and before 15 May, 250 Enlisted Men arrived from the Fort Niagara Induction Center, Youngstown, New York. Basic Training got started, with groups and individuals being sent for courses of Technical Training to Fitzsimons General Hospital, Denver, Colorado, and Camp Barkeley, Abilene, Texas. Between May 1941 and May 1942, 80 Hospital Technicians and other civilian craftsmen volunteered and were requested for assignment to the 6th GH on its activation.
On 1 July 1941, Colonel Thomas R. Goethals, MC, O-210439, reported for extended active duty at the Office of the Surgeon, First United States Army, Governor’s Island, New York, leaving Lt. Colonel Horatio Rogers, MC, O-398035 as Acting Unit Director. In November, the latter was also called to active duty and assigned as Chief of Surgical Service, Starke General Hospital, Charleston, South Carolina, leaving Lt. Colonel Donald S. King, MC, O-413283, in charge.

Lt. Colonel Doris K. Knights, ANC, US Army, Principal Chief Nurse of the 6th General Hospital.

In October and November of 1941, the 63d General Hospital, together with a Convalescent Hospital and 2 Station Hospitals treated casualties resulting from the First United States Army Carolina Maneuvers at Fort Bragg, Fayetteville, North Carolina.

When the unitwas activated for service, it consisted of 26 Staff members and 53 Nurses from the MGH. In total 52 of the 123 Medical Officers listed on its rolls were from the MGH. Of the 120 Nurses enrolled in the 6th GH, 71 also came from the MGH (some other Hospital units also set up with a large proportion of MGH personnel, such as the 105th General Hospital, the 6th Navy Mobile Hospital, and the 160th Station Hospital).

By the date of activation at Camp Blanding, Starke, Florida (IRTC), all of the authorized Nurses complement had been enrolled as well as 58 of the required 71 Officers. Before 15 May ended, the 6th was augmented by 352 EM transferred from the 63d General Hospital (a training unit stationed at Camp Blanding supplying cadre for affiliated General Hospitals). Some of their original staff was transferred to the 6th GH as well to organize the Detachment. They were Major William C. Knott (XO, former CO 63d GH), Captain Virgil D. Smith (Plans & Training Officer), Captain William S. Worthy (Detachment CO), 1st Lieutenant Hilton H. Fowler (Medical Supply & Pharmacy Officer); more Officers would join before the end of May.

(The 63d GH was ordered to transfer all its personnel to the 6th General Hospital with the exception of 1 Officer and 12 EM. Lt. Strohmenger became its CO under orders to organize replacements to form the personnel of a new Hospital, later to become the 37th General Hospital, bringing an end to the 63d GH’s existence. The 6th GH was initially organized under T/O 8-507, 25 July 1940, later supplanted by T/O 8-550, dated 1 April 1942 and modifying changes, to function as a 1000-bed unit in a Theater of Operations. Its parent unit, supplying Officers and Nurses was the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston; while its military source unit was the 63d General Hospital, which supplied the initial cadre of 352 Medical Department Enlisted personnel. During 1942, it was brought up to T/O strength by assignment of Officers and by requisition of Enlisted Men).

Signpost indicating the location of the Hospital in Casablanca, French Morocco. Picture taken in February 1943.

Organization:

A General Hospital of the Communications Zone was divided into 2 general groups; the Administrative Services and the Professional Services. The personnel, when properly organized and trained, could efficiently operate a 1,000-bed Hospital. ComZ General Hospitals were standard medical establishments with a normal capacity for 1,000 patients, but could be expanded in an emergency situation to care for more than that number (with a limit to 2,000). These organizations were equipped to give definite medical and surgical treatment to all cases. Being a ‘fixed’ installation, the General Hospital usually remained in a certain place throughout the period of operations.

Organization
Administrative Services (21 Officers, 230 EM)
Headquarters 6 Officers, 1 Warrant Officer, 5 Nurses
Registrar (Receiving & Patients’ Detachment) 3 Officers
Detachment (Medical Department) 2 Officers
Medical Supply 1 Officer
Mess 1 Officer
General Supply & Utility 2 Officers
Professional Services (41 Officers, 100 Nurses, 270 EM)
Medical Services 14 Officers
Surgical Services 17 Officers
Dental Services 5 Officers
Laboratory Services 3 Officers
Roentgenological Services 2 Officers

During September and October Enlisted replacements were received from various Replacement Training Centers such as Camp Barkeley (MRTC, Texas), Camp Grant (MRTC, Illinois), Camp Joseph T. Robinson (IRTC, Arkansas), Camp Pickett (MRTC, Virginia), and William Beaumont General Hospital (Texas), with the Detachment increasing to 567 EM.
The 6th GH remained at Camp Blanding for slightly over 8 months before movement orders were received. During this period, the Nurses, civilian employees, and ARC personnel were attached to the Camp’s Station Hospital for duty, rations, and quarters, while Officers and Enlisted Men of the Detachment occupied the Unit Training Area designated A-6. The unit was gradually building up its T/O strength despite attrition caused by detachments of men sent to OCS, provision of cadres to recently activated organizations, and transfer for assignments to other medical units. SOP was prepared. On 18 December the War Department placed the 6th GH on alert and all leaves and furloughs were immediately cancelled. Organization equipment and supplies were packed and crated for shipment. As time went by, much attention was now centered on exercises devoted to entraining – detraining, and loading – unloading of equipment. On 20 December, 67 Enlisted personnel were transferred to the 63d General Hospital. Xmas was duly celebrated, probably the last Christmas on home soil for a long time …

Commanding Officer – 6th General Hospital
Colonel Thomas R. Goethals, MC, O-219439 (15 May 1942 > 19 March 1945)
Lt. Colonel Marshall K. Bartlett, MC, O-397995
Lt. Colonel Thomas S. Hamilton, MC, O-401975
Lt. Colonel Edward F. Bland, MC, O-397996
Colonel William O. H. Prosser, MC (5 May 1945 > 30 July 1945)
Colonel Donald S. King, MC, O-413283 (30 July 1945 > 15 September 1945)

Unit Strength
15 May 1942 > aggregate strength: 58 Medical Officers – 115 Nurses – 352 Enlisted Men – 2 Hospital Dietitians – 4 Physical Therapy Aides – 2 Dental Hygienists – 5 ARC workers.
31 December 1942 > aggregate strength: 56 Medical Officers – 105 Nurses – 502 Enlisted Men – 5 ARC workers – 8 civilians.
8 February 1943 > aggregate strength: 55 Officers – 105 Nurses – 1 Warrant Officer – 499 Enlisted Men – 11 civilians.
31 December 1943 > aggregate strength: 56 Officers – 99 Nurses – 1 Warrant Officer – 5 ARC workers.
30 April 1944> aggregate strength: 53 Officers – 96 Nurses – 1 Warrant Officer – 3 Hospital Dietitians – 2 Physical Therapy Aides – 3 ARC workers.

Aerial view of the 6th General Hospital, Casablanca, French Morocco. Picture taken in April 1943.

Training:

From its date of activation up to 20 January 1943, the organization carried out a Training Program in basic and technical military subjects which corresponded in general with the original provisions of MTP 8-1 as later modified by MTP 8-10. Nurses and Enlisted Technicians were trained at the Camp Blanding Station Hospital, while certain Officers were detached for courses at the Chemical Warfare and Motor Transport Schools. Medical classes with both theory and practice were taught by the unit’s Officers and professional personnel.

Movement Overseas & Staging:

Mobilization duties were carried out until late January. Orders arrived at last and on 20 January 1943, the 6th GH entrained for its Staging Area, Camp Kilmer, Stelton, New Jersey, a Post within the jurisdiction of the New York Post of Embarkation. The trip to the Staging Area was comfortable and uneventful, but the end of the journey proved bitter, as the men detrained amid snow flurries at Camp Kilmer. The change from the mild climate of Florida to the bitter cold of New Jersey took its toll of Officers, Nurses, and Men in the form of numerous cases of respiratory infection.
When leaving Cp. Blanding, the unit was in possession of only individual equipment, gas masks, certain Quartermaster, Signal, and Ordnance equipment, and only 6 ¾-ton ambulances. Supply shortages were drawn but in the end only 40% preceded the hospital to its overseas destination and some 30% accompanied the unit in the convoy; while the balance was either en route or still to be delivered. Considerable time would elapse before all shortages could be determined and it was not until 16 June 1943 (in North Africa) that final requisitions could be submitted to cover the shortages.
The unit staged at Camp Kilmer from 21 January to 7 February, and went through an active training program of close-order drills, road marches, training films, inoculations, instructions, security and censorship regulations, and spot checking of additional personal equipment kept the organization busy. Due to the intensity of the refresher courses and POM procedures, hoped for passes to New York City failed to materialize.

Surgical team of the 6th General Hospital in action. Picture taken early March 1943. The unit’s first surgical ward opened on 6 March in the city of Casablanca.

At 1145, 7 February 1943, the 6th General Hospital (officially designated TF 5995-DD) left Area 7, broken down into 5 groups for overseas shipment, entraining for NY P/E. They detrained at Jersey City at 1230 hours, and boarded the New Jersey Central Ferry.
In order to expedite movement and to facilitate administration of transportation, the unit was divided into 5 sections:

Officers’ Platoon
Nurses’ Platoon (including attached civilian personnel)
Medical Department Detachment
Company “A”, Provisional
Company “B”, Provisional
Company “C”, Provisional

Late afternoon the groups embarked from Pier No. 13 on six different ships of a convoy of 50 carrying over 50,000 people preparing to sail. Destination was unknown, but a likely guess was either Great Britain or North Africa. The journey at sea was relatively unexciting, except for a group of 4 Officers and 24 Nurses aboard the USAT “Uruguay” which was involved in a collision with the USS “Salamonie” (Tanker AO-26) at 0102 hours, 12 February, and had to return to St. George, Bermuda, for repairs – they only rejoined the 6th GH on 18 March. Life belts had to be worn always, boat drills were held at regular times, and each sunset saw antiaircraft gun practice. The men were quartered in compartments each holding approximately 165 individuals. Sleeping was on steel and canvas bunks four tiers high. Meals were served twice a day. Salt water for showers and shaves was the rule on board.  Time passed quickly with programs of calisthenics, abandon-ship drills, and amateur entertainment and shows. Lights were not allowed outside, and the men and women of the 6th kept busy reading, talking, playing cards or chess, and admiring the surrounding convoy and the sea. The sea was good to the passengers, as few got sick during the voyage. A first indication of the ship’s destination was given when a “Guide to North Africa” was distributed to everyone on board.
UGF-5 was a fast eastbound transatlantic convoy of ships sailing from the United States to Gibraltar carrying food, ammunition, equipment, troops, and military supplies for US Forces in North Africa. The convoys assembled near the mouth of Chesepeake Bay and were accompanied by the necessary ocean escort and a tanker including troopships among which the USAT Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay …

North Africa:

The 6th GH landed its detachments at Casablanca on 19 February. The city was the site of Headquarters of the Atlantic Base Section (ABS) and two medical units were already installed in the city; the 8th Evacuation Hospital (opened 21 Nov 42) and the 59th Evacuation Hospital (opened 30 Dec 42), however with overcrowded facilities; thus an extra provision of fixed beds in the form of a functioning General Hospital was therefore urgently needed. Three different areas had been requisitioned for installations: a girls’ school “Collège des Jeune Filles, Mers Sultan” – a large warehouse building (33,875 square feet) “La Marocaine des Bois” – and another boys’ school “L’Ecole de Garçons, Mers Sultan”. The Hospital’s Detachment was housed in a bivouac area in the “Parc Central” with the Enlisted Men in pyramidal tents. The Officers were quartered in 2 hotels, the “Ecole LaSalle”, and in private billets. Nurses and civilians went to the “Lycée Lyautey”, and later to an apartment building, rue Blaise Pascal. Kitchen and Mess halls were set up in some of the ward tents, and latrines facilities dug separately on the grounds.
Admission of patients was to begin on 1 March, and after a few beds were set up (after considerable work to alter the existing buildings had been done), the first patient was officially admitted on 27 February 1943. Although some of the unit’s supplies were still missing, and shortages were detected, those available were quickly procured, stored, and issued. OR facilities were however not completed before mid-April (only emergency surgery could be performed). The Hospital’s bed capacity rose from 78 on 1 March to a maximum of 1,263 attained by 19 June.

View of one of the wards of the 6th General Hospital in Casablanca, French Morocco. The Hospital’s official stay in the city lasted from 27 February 1943 to 14 May 1944.

ABS would operate a total of 7 Hospitals in the Casablanca area including the following units:

6th General Hospital (27 Feb 43 > 14 May 44)
8th Evacuation Hospital (22 Nov 42 > 19 Jun 43)
50th Station Hospital (5 May 43 > 19 May 44)
56th Station Hospital (14 May 43 > 28 Feb 45)
59th Evacuation Hospital (30 Dec 42 > 30 Jun 43)
66th Station Hospital (12 May 43 > 6 Dec 43)
69th Station Hospital (28 Mar 43 > 15 Aug 43)

Operations – French Morocco
The complete installation of the 6th General Hospital at Casablanca occupied the period from 20 February to approximately 19 June 1943; this was mainly due to the many alterations, additional construction works, and installation of basic utilities, such as plumbing and lighting.
The first two months after opening, the Hospital received patients from local units in addition to those evacuated from the combat zone and from other Hospitals located in the Mediterranean Base Section (MBS) comprising all of Algeria lying between the front and ABS. 35 airplane convoys (evacuation) were admitted during March and April, and 3 Hospital Trains (converted from French rolling stock) between April and May. When Hospital Trains were expected, the 6th General Hospital sent a boarding party to Fez, for collecting valuables, checking records, and assigning patients to wards in Casablanca, while they were still in transit. In the end, with the introduction of Hospital Ship evacuation to the United States, the Hospital effectively assumed a port-of-debarkation role.

Living conditions were far from arduous. Of course there were occasions when water supply was short, unpleasant conditions when plagues of locusts visited the region, gastrointestinal upsets initially caused by the prescribed anti-malaria doses of Atabrine (Quinine was provided for men truly sensitive to Atabrine), and other minor inconveniences such as dust and heat; but there were no enemy air raids, no blackout regulations, and only 4 cases of malaria among the unit’s personnel. To overcome the numerous water cuts, three 3000-gallon canvas water tanks were set up in the courtyard to store water for emergency service in the hot season and periods of acute water shortage. Bathing facilities were reasonably adequate, with showers installed in three of the Hospital’s premises. Hospital and Detachment laundry was done initially by a Quartermaster Laundry Company, and later by the Base Quartermaster Laundry. Officers and Nurses contracted civilian laundresses. Field grade Officers were quartered in a large hotel, junior Officers were billeted in various houses and villas, Nurses and other female personnel were settled in newly constructed apartment buildings. Officers and EM of the Detachment camped in the spacious “Parc Central”, which afforded ample space for tentage, motor pool, sports and athletics. Four separate messes were maintained.

Partial view of of the 6th General Hospital’s medical supply section storeroom.

A weekly organization paper named “The Bandage Roll” was started by 1st Lieutenant Walter Singer, MAC, Special Service, Information & Education, in April of 1943 (expanded to 10 pages, while the Hospital served in Italy).  A Conference Room was established with money from the Hospital Fund and support from the American Red Cross, it could be used as Day Room for Enlisted personnel and for indoor recreation. Officers named their Day Room the “Staff Room”, while the Enlisted Men named theirs the “Stuff Room”.

On 24 May, Good Conduct ribbons were awarded men of the Detachment by Colonel T. R. Goethals, and on 26 August 1943, there was another such ceremony with award of 149 Good Conduct ribbons to deserving soldiers.
By General Orders No. 68, Headquarters, NATOUSA, S/Sgt Clarence A. Roth was awarded the Legion of Merit for exceptional meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services on 1 August 1943.

Thanks to the mild climate and the small amounts of rainfall, outdoor recreational opportunities were abundant practically throughout the year. Bicycles were purchased or provided. A baseball team was organized, dubbed the “Casablanca Yankees” (they frequently met the “Street Walkers” from Algiers) and even managed to win 2 games out of 3 in the North African World Series of Baseball. On 4 October the Yankees defeated the current MBS Champions and received a trophy made out of an unexploded Italian bomb; moreover, each player was presented a baseball autographed by Ike. Organized tours, short furloughs, and periods of release from routine duties were included in fall and winter of 1943.

While stationed in Casablanca the Hospital was involved in an incident worth mentioning. General George S. Patton, Jr., needed surgical attention for a minor facial condition. He was taken to one of the 6th GH’s Operating Rooms, successfully operated, and rode on to further glory.

 “Hospital Day”, 1 September 1943 in Casablanca, French Morocco. Invocation given by the organization’s Chaplain under the palm trees in the courtyard of the 6th General Hospital installation.

By 2 October, the strength of the Detachment had dwindled to 472 men (transfers, over-age, special qualifications), luckily 26 new replacements were received from the 1st Replacement Depot on 7 November 1943.
After the Cairo Conference (22 – 26 Nov 43, attended by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston R. Churchill, and Generalissimo Chiang-Kai-shek) which addressed the Allied position with respect to Japan, PM Winston Churchill went to a resort in Marrakech for some rest. There was a rumor that the PM was suffering from some chest trouble. As Marrakech was within the American Zone, the 6th General Hospital was requested to assist, and Lt. Colonel Donald S. King and 2d Lieutenant Florence L. Giberti, were delegated on site, eventually spending Christmas there. Later in the week, Lord Beaverbrook (British Lord Privy Seal) cast an inlay from one of his teeth, and Colonel Robert G. Rae, O-443821, was flown in from Casablanca to glue it on again.
On 2 January 1944, Lt. Colonel James R. Lingley, Tec 3 Arnold H. Moore, Tec 4 C. C. Carter, and Tec 5 George E. Elliott from the X-Ray Department journeyed to Marrakech with a portable X-ray machine and generator to assist PM Winston Churchill. The entire operation was very hush-hush at time.

On 24 December, Xmas Eve was celebrated with dinner and by singing carols with help from a choir of Nurses and Enlisted Men. Santa Claus even visited the Detachment traveling by jeep the wee hours of Christmas morning. Red Cross gifts were distributed, containing cigarettes, playing cards, and candy for all.

Early in 1944, the unit was reassigned to the newly organized Peninsular Base Section (PBS) in Italy. Plans for eventual movement of the Hospital by water had been prepared in May of 1943 and had been kept current at ABS Headquarters in Casablanca. In April 1944 a request for lumber with which to pack and crate the unit’s equipment was approved, and definite plans for a transfer were put into effect.

On 10 February, and 27 March, two groups of Italian PWs (totaling 57 men) arrived for use as labor details. On 10 April, the Inspector General held annual War Department Inspection of the Hospital’s premises resulting in a general rating of ‘Excellent’. Some Limited Assignment personnel were received on 19 and 22 April. Closing of wards, diminution in the number of occupied beds, and reduction of the official bed-capacity followed each other. The 8 wards in the warehouse (nicknamed the “Moroccan Building”) were closed by 27 April. On 2 May, a first group of Detachment personnel was sent home on rotation. On 7 May the Detachment struck camp at the “Parc Central” and moved into the Young Girls’ School. Meanwhile, 370 tons of equipment became ready for loading on 13 May.
Due to lack of a proper Medical Supply Depot in ABS, the 6th GH had performed that specific function until it closed this operation on 16 May, passing it on to the 56th Station Hospital. The 6th closed station in Casablanca at 2400, 24 May 1944.

Nurses of the 6th General Hospital leaving the apartment building in Casablanca. The next move was from Casablanca, French Morocco, to Oran, Algeria. Picture taken 16 May 1944, departure day. From Oran, they would travel aboard the USAHS “Seminole” to Naples, Italy. 

The Hospital then moved from Casablanca to Oran, Algeria, where it was to stage for further movement by water to Italy, in 3 echelons. An advance party, vehicular transportation, and priority supplies left Casablanca by road on 15 May. A freight train (40 & 8s boxcars) loaded with unit equipment and personnel left on 16 May, followed six hours later by a mixed passenger and freight train with men, baggage, and the balance of unit equipment. Officers and Nurses traveled in second-class passenger coaches, with men being put up in the “40 & 8s”. A dispensary was set up in the end of one of the passenger cars, and food, water, medical care were taken care off for the journey.  There was a stop at Fez, where a mobile kitchen served breakfast.
On arrival at Oran on 18 May 1944, the Nurses and other female personnel were sent to the Nurses’ Rest Center at Ain-et-Turk, while the Officers and the Detachment went to Area 26, Camp No. 2 (MBS Staging Area with a lot of pyramidal tents) on the road between Assi Ameur and Fleurus (known as “Goat Hill”). Supply Officers went to help unload the equipment from the 2 trains, store it in warehouses, and finally load it on the 3 Liberty ships of a freight convoy about to set sail for Naples on 28 May. On 31 May the Officers and EM of the 6th General Hospital’s Detachment embarked on the USAHS “Shamrock” (US Army Hospital Ship, commissioned 1 Sep 43) at Mers-el-Kébir and sailed for Naples, Italy. This was like a pleasure cruise; beautiful weather, clean beds and mattresses, clean sheets and pillows, excellent food, soft water, movies on deck.

Admissions – 1943
February – 1
March – 1,537
April – 1,397
May – 910
June – 1,494
July – 1,240
August – 1,303
September – 1,229
October – 625
November – 1,209
December – 1,867
Admissions – 1944
January – 1,469
February – 1,319
March – 1,564
April – 805

Dispositions – 1943
February – 0
March – 769
April – 1,214
May – 978
June – 1,005
July – 1,645
August – 1,554
September – 615
October – 1,559
November – 854
December – 1,985
Dispositions – 1944
January – 1,142
February – 1,360
March – 2,024
April – 1,010

(in the same period, the number of airplane convoys received was 60, and the number of hospital trains admitted was 38; a total of 118 patients were evacuated by air, and another 10,329 were evacuated to the Zone of Interior by maritime transportation).

Italy:

The advance party left Oran, Algeria, at 1330 hours, 28 May by Liberty Ship. On 30 May, at 1030, half-way through a one hour drill, the MD Detachment was alerted and told to start packing. It departed “Goat Hill” on 31 May by way of motor convoy for Oran, where it embarked on the USAHS “Shamrock”. Everyone enjoyed this kind of pleasure cruise, with lots of excellent food, movies, and rest. The men arrived in Naples, Italy, at 1400 hours, on 3 June 1944.

Temporary home for some ANC Officers; the final touch of home. After arrival at Oran, Algeria, 18 May 1944, the 6th General Hospital personnel temporarily set up at the Ain-et-Turk staging area, waiting for transportation to Italy.

Operations – Italy
The 6th GH reached Naples on 3 June 1944 (one day before the Fifth United States Army entered Rome). The Nurses had sailed from Naples on the USAHS “Seminole” (Army Hospital Ship, commissioned 3 Jun 43) on 2 June, and only arrived on 5 June 1944. After arrival a hasty bivouac was set up under tentage as well as a field mess.
After landing it was soon found out that practically all Officers as well as all the Nurses and other female personnel were to be placed on DS at various Hospitals already stationed in the PBS. Accordingly, only the Detachment, the Officers of the Hospital Headquarters and Supply Department were to set up near Maddaloni, some 6 miles from Caserta and 18 miles from PBS Hq in Naples. While staging near Maddolini, it was learned that there would be a re-organization pursuant to a new T/O with an increase of bed-capacity from 1,000 to 1,500. Authorized strength would now bring personnel numbers to 71 Officers, 125 Nurses, 4 Hospital Dietitians, 4 Physical Therapy Aides, and 562 Enlisted Men. The next station of the unit would be in the vicinity of Rome, and was foreseen before the end of June (together with the 12th and 33d General Hospitals). The unit was alerted for the next move at 1100, 15 June. On 17 June all personnel were called back from DS in the Naples area.
Between 17 and 19 June, the 6th GH proceeded to Rome. Hospital Headquarters and Detachment traveled by truck arriving in Rome at 2100 hours. Most Officers and Nurses who had been on Detached Service at various Hospitals, were assembled at Naples and embarked on an LST for transportation to Anzio, from where they entrucked for further movement to Rome. Upon arrival, supplies and equipment had to be unloaded in the rain.

The location of the Hospital for the next 10 months was in the building of the “Istituto Buon Pastore” (Institute of the Good Shepherd), situated in the rolling country across the River Tiber from Rome. It had been used by the Italians and the Germans for hospitalization of sick and wounded. The Germans had evacuated in such a hurry that they had left behind large quantities of medical supplies, heaps of soiled dressings, and even some uneaten food on unwashed dishes in some of the more distant wards. The building had been promptly taken over by the 56th and 94th Evacuation Hospitals who had done a number of necessary renovations but only occupied part of the premises.The first job facing the Hospital unit was to clean up the unused portion. The building consisted of four floors, a spacious basement, and provided ample space for installation of 2,423 beds, which was the maximum capacity available during September of 1944. The grounds around the building provided adequate room for pitching tents. A group of smaller buildings across the road were secured for use as a motor pool and a recreation hall.
All personnel had rejoined for duty by 19 June. The following days were spent cleaning up the mess, scrubbing the filthy walls, halls, and stairways, burning infested mattresses, disinfecting the wards, and cleaning out trash left by the enemy and setting up wards, ORs, clinics, pharmacy, X-ray department, and laboratory. Bivouac areas were completed for the Detachment, the Officers and the Nurses. The last unit to leave, the 56th EH, pulled out on 29 June, and the following day the Hospital opened with 1,382 beds installed (of which 219 were occupied).

Although the Rome Allied Area Command (after 1 Jul 44) had supervision over the city, US Army Hospitals remained under the jurisdiction of the Peninsular Base Section. As of 15 August, PBS had 28,900 beds in operation, of which 15,000 in Naples, 6,000 in Rome, and 4,000 north of Rome. Between 14 October 1943 and 31 August 1944, PBS admitted 281,823 patients and returned 213,624 of them to duty.

The first five months of activity included 8,171 admissions (with less than 25% from local units) of which 6,930 were received from transport aircraft flying in from the combat zone. Battle casualties accounted for 51% of total admissions.

Some views of the “pleasure cruise” aboard the USAHS “Shamrock”. On 31 May 1944, the Officers and Enlisted Men embarked on the US Army Hospital Ship at Mers-el-Kébir, Algeria, with destination Naples, Italy.

In September, rains started and the area was soon converted into a respectable quagmire. Recreation was foreseen and as from 1 September, people were sent to the Fifth United States Army Rest Center in Rome or given passes to visit any location of the Peninsular Base Section.

Early in November the WD announced its Readjustment and Redeployment Policy. Rosters of general service personnel had to be screened for possible conversion to combat troops, with replacement of such service personnel with soldiers on Limited Assignment. Between 13 and 17 November the first important changes took place; 109 Limited Assignment personnel joined the 6th GH, and 27 EM were transferred to the 1st Replacement Depot in Rome for Infantry Conversion Training.
With winter coming, coal stoves were installed in the Detachment tents, and on dark cold days, the area almost looked like a “Little Pittsburgh”.

On 8 December 1944, Hospital Headquarters received orders to close installations in order to prepare for its next move. Despite the heavy workload while in the area, Rome afforded many opportunities for relaxation and recreation. Tours and visits to the “Eternal City” were organized, and apart from regular sports activities, recreational services were made available in fall and early winter, with Naples, Capri, and Rome, the most frequently visited.
The 6th General Hospital closed station in Rome on 22 December 1944, and remained inactive as a unit until the following spring. All but a handful of Officers and Nurses, were promptly called for DS with other PBS units and Fifth Army medical organizations. Specialists in psychosomatic work were attached to the 15th Field Hospital some 3 miles from Cafaggiolo, to help and replace some elements of 1st Platoon, 601st Medical Clearing Company tasked with NP care.
Supplies were crated and boxed again in anticipation of the next move. Many people visited St. Peter’s Cathedral for Holy Mass by Pope Pius XII on Christmas Eve. Christmas Dinner followed with turkey and all its trimmings. In order to celebrate the second New Year overseas, a party was held in the Day Room with punch being served. Several men were sent on DS to the 8th Port Headquarters in Naples, to the General Dispensary at Anzio, to the 73d Station Hospital in Rome, to the Surgeon’s Office at Leghorn, and to the 50th Station Hospital at Pisa.

After receiving an urgent appeal to assume operation of a Hospital train at Leghorn, a group of Officers, Nurses and some Enlisted personnel were detached from the 6th GH to operate Hospital Train No. 42-A1 (nicknamed “Kelley’s Comet” after Major Sylvester B. Kelley –ed) between 17 January and 1 May 1945.

3 June 1944, view of the Enlisted Men’s bivouac and staging area at Maddaloni, Italy.

On 19 January, the 34th Station Hospital (which had been serving a Replacement Center in the Caserta area since October 1944) moved into “Buon Pastore” vacated by the 6th and opened on one side of the building.
Further reorganization took place, accompanied by promotion of Officers and Nurses, to comply with and fill the available vacancies in higher grades. By New Year’s Day of 1945, it was however found out that the Hospital was short of 14 Officers, 21 Nurses, and 70 EM. In total there were only 7 MC Officers, 2 DC Officers, 8 MAC Officers, and 3 Nurses left for the Hospital. The unit returned to basic military training, with orientation talks, training films, and road marches …

On 19 March 1945 Colonel Thomas R. Goethals, O-219439 was relieved from assignment and transferred to command the 4,000-bed Joseph Lovell General Hospital in Ayer, Massachusetts. Lt. Colonel Marshall K. Bartlett, O-397995 succeeded to temporary command of the 6th GH, after which he was in turn succeeded for short periods by Lt. Colonel Thomas S. Hamilton, O-401975, and Lt. Colonel Edward F. Bland, O-397996 until 5 May, shortly after transfer of the Hospital to its new location, when Colonel William O. H. Prosser became the new CO (arriving from the 70th General Hospital at Pistoia).He was to remain in command until 30 July 1945.

After the liberation of Bologna on 21 April, the unit was alerted on the 26th and a site was selected in the city for another overseas installation. On 28 April an advance party of 76 men left Rome for Bologna by motor convoy (with a stop en route in Pisa), followed on 1 May by the main body which had moved by rail. The site assigned included the premises and buildings of the “Colleges of Engineering” and of “Industrial Chemistry” of the “University of Bologna”. Finally at 0400 hours, 2 May, all personnel had arrived at the selected building in Bologna. The advance party had prepared sandwiches and hot coffee upon arrival, for the tired, wet and cold men. After cleaning, the opening process and starting operation was smoothly carried out, with admission of the first patient on 9 May. Between 2 and 5 May, all men of the Detachment were called to duty to the 6th GH from the 64th General Hospital, the 2d Auxiliary Surgical Group, Hospital Train No. 42-A1, and the PBS Surgeon’s Office. On and around 8 May, rumors purporting the surrender of the German Armed Forces and V-E Day were verified.
In the same period all men over 40 years of age were returned home for Discharge. Redeployment was now in effect and 14 people with high ASR scores were also sent to the Zone of Interior for Discharge, with low point medical personnel assigned to the unit to compensate for the recent losses.

Temporary set up of 6th General Hospital personnel under tentage before moving into the “Istituto Buon Pastore” in Rome, Italy. Picture taken during the second half of June 1944.

During the months of May, June, and July, 2,733 patients were admitted and cared for, and on 24 July 1945, the last patient was discharged. Many of the patients treated during the Bologna phase of operations were German PWs. As many patients were German soldiers, the necessary personnel was requisitioned from the German Medical Corps to assist in the treatment of German casualties (quite a few were released from the PW Cage at Modena, which held about 20,000 Germans), and at the end of May there were 100 Germans available to offset the decrease of the Hospital’s own strength. Patient census increased for a while and more German prisoners were obtained for ward duty and manual labor, reaching 300 men by 20 June (at the time there were still about 800 German patients being treated at the Hospital). Between June and July more men were transferred to the 83d Station Hospital. On 28 June 29 EM were sent to Venice on 7-day rest leaves, others were sent to the Army University Study Center at Florence. Transfers and reassignments continued; 29 EM went to the Pacific Theater;  15 EM were transferred to the 21st Station Hospital, 13 EM were sent to the 17th General Hospital, 6 EM to the 70th General Hospital, 5 EM to the 882d Medical Collecting Company, 5 EM to the 33d General Hospital, and another 2 EM went to the 24th General Hospital (leaving only 435 Enlisted Men). Between 20 – 23 July, ranks were again thinned by the loss of 89 EM going to the 33d General Hospital, the 81st Station Hospital, the 103d Station Hospital, the 182d Station Hospital, and the 515th Air Service Group. Another 14 were transferred to the 300th General Hospital, the 17th General Hospital, the 32d Station Hospital, and the 7th Station Hospital.On 1 August, 9 EM were re-assigned to the 99th Field Hospital.

“Istituto Buon Pastore”, Rome, Italy. The 6th General Hospital’s home for 11 months.

Review:

Headquarters – 6th General Hospital
Hospital Headquarters functioned as a coordinating center for all unit activities. It formulated all necessary command and administrative policies and acted as a channel through which all orders, policies, and directives, applicable to the Hospital were administered. It served as an office of the Commanding Officer, and as a clearing house for all instructions from higher headquarters, and for all reports from unit services and departments to higher headquarters.
Upon activation of the 6th GH, Headquarters only consisted of Captain Thomas S. Hamilton as Adjutant, S/Sgt James A. Shackelford as Sergeant-Major, S/Sgt Theodore Last as Personnel Sergeant-Major, and Enlisted personnel such as Michael J. Halowka, Joseph M. DiFulvio, Robert Condon, and Douglas Campbell among others. More men were added later, including some graduates from OCS, and NCOs who received direct commissions overseas. At the beginning, Hospital Headquarters was organized to perform functions necessary for a unit in training, but upon arrival overseas reports, correspondence, and General and Special Orders increased a hundredfold. In addition personnel were required to operate the telephone switchboard and information desk as well as the post office (taken over in fall of 1943 by APU 764). During the period the Hospital was in Casablanca, the work performed was characterized by periods of activity both regular and irregular. When ships called into port to take up patients to be evacuated to the ZI, everyone worked hard. It became less burdensome after the move to Rome and Bologna, but as the war progressed reports increased while personnel decreased.
The Information & Education office introduced “The Bandage Roll”, in Casablanca, in April 1943. It was the first official issue of the 6th GH weekly newspaper, which would reach over 120 issues.

Lt. Colonel Marshall K. Bartlett, Commanding Officer of the 6th General Hospital (succeeded Colonel T. R. Goethals who left the unit 19 March 1945)
Courtesy Susan Bartlett Demb

 

Detachment – 6th General Hospital
The original Detachment, often called the “Old Contemptibles” was made up of 352 EM transferred to the 6th GH from the 63d GH which was then in training at Camp Blanding. The very FIRST Detachment Commander became Colonel Thomas R. Goethals, MC.
On 17 May 1942 1st Lieutenant William C. Burrage, MC, O-331998, assumed command of the Detachment, Medical Department.
On 23 May, 1942 Captain William S. Worthy, MC, O-341152, took over (with 1st Lt W. C. Burrage as Assistant Detachment Commander).
On 27 May 1942, 78 men joined from Fort Devens, Ayer, Massachusetts (Military Reservation), increasing the Detachment’s strength to 430 Enlisted Men.
On 8 July 1942 2d Lieutenant E. B. Herwick, MAC,joined the Detachment, and was appointed Assistant Detachment Commander (relieving 1st Lt. W. C. Burrage). He would later take over as Detachment CO on 22 February 1943, with 1st Lieutenant Frank J. Holmes, as Assistant (eventually replaced by 2d Lt. Walter Singer).
The original members of the Detachment had been well trained and completed Basic Training. Immediately upon assignment Technical Training was initiated for all Enlisted personnel.
On 9 July 1942, the Detachment moved from tents into hutments, with permanent latrine and shower facilities which added much to the comfort of all.
A Drum and Bugle Corps was later organized by Captain Henry Heyll.
On 1 September 1942, the organization celebrated “Hospital Day” with a ceremony in the Post theater with many speeches and a special address by the CO, and the Commanding General of Camp Blanding, Florida.
During September and October 1942, additional Enlisted replacements were received, increasing the Detachment’s strength to 567 men.
On 18 December 1942, the 6th GH was placed on alert status with all leaves and furloughs immediately cancelled. Organization equipment and supplies were prepared, drawn, packed and crated for shipment, while necessary clothing and individual equipment for overseas duty was issued to all personnel.
Mobilization duties were carried out until 20 January 1943 upon which the Detachment entrained for the Camp Kilmer Staging Area in New Jersey.
On 7 February 1943, fully clothed and equipped, the Detachment left Camp Blanding for the New York City Port of Embarkation. The Detachment finally embarked onto the USAT “Brazil” which weighed anchor on 8 February 1943 – the Detachment was on its way to its overseas mission…

Registrar – 6th General Hospital
The Registrar kept an office for the filing, maintaining and processing of all medical and surgical records and indices for preparation and rendition of statistical tables and charts and for the maintenance and dispatch of all sick and wounded reports. Considering the amount of work to be handled, personnel called themselves ”typewriter commandos”. Loads of records were collected and maintained; the office handled all the paperwork of about 29,000 admissions and turned over records of some 800 patients in a single day. Moreover, the Registrar Office boasted they had the best Xmas tree in Rome, and they formed a softball team that even managed to beat Headquarters.

Patients waiting to be admitted to the 6th General Hospital, Rome, Italy. A preliminary triage and check of EMT data is taking place. Picture taken end of June 1944. 

Receiving & Disposition – 6th General Hospital
The R & D Office got off to a humble start at Casablanca on 27 February 1943. The influx of patients soon necessitated a change in quarters, which eventually led to the occupation of a separate wooded building (formerly a classroom) in the central courtyard of the Hospital. During the stay at Casablanca, slightly over 18,000 patients were admitted and discharged. The office was learning fast and yet first cases of strange and new maladies baffled personnel, such as “too much vin rouge”, “traffic accident cases”, or “victims of Arab stabbings and beatings”.
In Rome, there was a general increase of work linked to the advance of Allied Forces in Northern Italy, resulting in busy months with 3,000 admissions, and 14 or 16-hour workdays.  Business did let up, however, as soon as the Hospital was filled. After moving into Bologna, a new type of patients was admitted, German PWs, and new systems for processing were required. Gradually, the R & D Office turned really international, now admitting not only ex-Allied Prisoners of War, but receiving Russians, French, Italians, Poles, Czechs, and Yugoslavs (DPs, refugees, and slave laborers), taxing personnel vocabularies to the utmost.

Detachment of Patients – 6th General Hospital
The Detachment of Patients came into being as a separate entity overseas (originally planned to be a Registrar subsidiary). When station was opened at Casablanca, it was soon discovered that work entailed in the handling of patients’ records was so extensive as to require a nearly autonomous Department. 1st Lieutenant Karl R. Ottesen, Headquarters Adjutant and Personnel Officer, was made CO, with M/Sgt Micheal J. Holowka, in charge. The latter was assisted by two NCOs, S/Sgt Harry Kester and Tec 4 Edwin Maue.
The Detachment handled all personnel matters pertaining to patients. Service records, pay allotments, insurance, paperwork for transfer upon discharge were all handled. During its two and a half years of operation, this small unit handled thousands of service records, and paid thousands of soldiers hundred thousands of dollars. It was a young but aggressive department which contributed toward the success of the 6th General Hospital’s mission.

Formal 6th General Hospital Guard mount, Bologna, Italy. The first Unit Guards were established in Casablanca, French Morocco (unarmed). Apart from securing the installation grounds against theft and pilfering, the guards were also responsible for all patients in the Hospital regarding protection and leaves. They also escorted PW details, and stood guard for the weekly Purple Heart presentations and other ceremonies. 

Surgical Service – 6th General Hospital
By end of September 1940, 16 surgeons had already been chosen by the MGM authorities and approved by the Unit Director, 6th GH. They were subsequently recommended to the War Department for commission in US Army grades. This allowed to fill all T/O vacancies by 31 October 1941.
Professional training of the Officers was chiefly by voluntary attendance of courses on war surgery and by reading. What was however lacking was administrative training (Army Regulations, paperwork, and administering and running a Hospital had still to be learned. Some of the Officers were sent to different hospitals to gain practical experience. After activation, Officers were now faced with learning their own military duties, while at the same time they had to carry on with the technical training of the Enlisted Men. Individual aptitudes and qualifications had to be studied with a view to select the right man for each job. Six 12-hour advanced courses were organized for the Enlisted Men in the following subjects: operating room technique; eye, ear, nose and throat surgery; general surgery; septic surgery; orthopedic surgery; and urology. Meanwhile six other courses had been prepared to cover medical subjects. Demonstration materials, apparatus, and samples were mostly borrowed from the Station Hospital, or devised by some Officers. Groups of students were rotated.
The Station Hospital at Camp Blanding contributed to the program by conducting courses in anesthesia for the Nurses. In the midst of all these activities, transfer orders came through and some Officers were ordered to report to new units.

On a raw morning late in February of 1943, the men woke up, to find themselves in a huge warehouse somewhere in Casablanca, French Morocco, half-filled with packing crates across a rainy street from the main 6th General Hospital. There was no water, no toilets, no lights, but plenty of rubbish, and lots of Arabs. It was necessary to first divide the 78 men assigned to the Surgical Service into sections so that they could unpack and set up their own equipment as quickly as possible, with a view to set up an OR to take care of surgical emergencies. Within 3 days of landing a first operating room was ready for business. On 6 March the first surgical ward opened (ward #32) on the ground floor, and the following day, two more similar 12-bed wards were operational (wards #30 and #21). From 15 April new wards were opened, reaching a bed capacity of 601.
Between 6 March 1943 and & May 1944, 8,747 patients were treated in the Surgical Service wards with only 12 deaths. Late in April 1944 the Moroccan wards were closed, properly turned in to Medical Supply, and packing began. By the end of the month beds had shrunk to 242. On 5 May, the last ward closed (ward #128) and bed capacity was 0. Five Officers were lost between May and December 1943 (transfers), but to compensate for the losses, the service gained 4 Surgeons; 1st Lieutenant Guy H. Laudig (Air Corps), Captain W. A. Jarrett (Rangers), Captain William S. Worthy (6th GH, Medical Service), and Captain James J. Kistler (240th Quartermaster Battalion). Changes in Nurses and EM also took place, some by permanent loss, some by assignment to other duties.

Special December 1944 edition of a booklet covering Rome, the “Eternal City” and its surroundings, distributed to the Allied Forces in Italy.

After arrival at Maddaloni, outside of Naples, Italy, all of the Surgical Officers and many of the Nurses and EM were ordered on DS to various busy hospitals in and around Naples. Here, they had the occasion to experience “push conditions” helping to handle hundreds of fresh battle casualties admitted daily, with perpetual operating, cumulative fatigue, and growing confusion. This was a new and stressing experience to many. On 20 June 1944, the personnel left Naples by truck for the port of Bagnoli, where everyone embarked on an LCI in the rain for an overnight trip to Anzio. Once there, the journey continued to Rome in trucks, passing Vatican State, and ending the voyage at a huge, queer-looking, pink brick building; the “Instituto Buon Pastore”. As usual, the place was filthy, lacked running water and lights, and in addition the future surgical wards were housing most of the Enlisted Men, and part of the 56th Evacuation Hospital. After cleaning, planning, and getting organized, a huge room was selected for an operating room, big enough for 14 tables and a long supply table. Scrub sinks were installed by the engineers. Many improvisations were required to make up for faulty plumbing, intermittent water and electric supply, scarce equipment, with ingenuity and resourcefulness always forthcoming. The Surgical Office opened 26 June, the Operating Department 28 June, the first ward 29 June, reaching a bed capacity of 767 on 30 June.
In the first month in Rome, 1,520 operations were effected, with daily operations reaching 150 day after day. The recovery ward, the plaster room, the operating room, the litter teams, the unobstructed and large passageways, the central sterile table, the continuous supply, the reserve Nurse anesthetists, everything worked, quietly, smoothly, efficiently, and tirelessly. Litter bearer teams of tough Italian Alpini had to be replaced frequently because of blistered hands (due to scattered wards, many stairs, and long carrys). The Medical Service pitched in and helped. The 24th General Hospital delegated 4 extra Officers, Major Colcock, Major Charbonnet, Captain Smith, and Captain Weed, as well as 24 Enlisted Technicians, to help man the medical wards flooded with surgical cases. During this busy month 3,012 patients were admitted (of which 90% battle casualties) and only 6 died. Almost all patients were Americans. Between 20 June and 22 December 1944, a total of 6,432 surgical patients were treated (with only 14 deaths). 4,731 men were returned to duty after an average stay of 33 days in the Hospital; 1,167 were evacuated to the United States after an average stay of 39 days; and 520 men were transferred to other hospitals after an average stay of 24 days. Approximately 73% of all surgical cases returned to duty. In August some personnel left, and in September some Officers were replaced. Then Officers were beginning to be sent on DS to other Fifth United States Army organizations, and it began to look as if the many rumors about moving might be true. On 22 December, the last patient was transferred to the 34th Station Hospital. The planned move into the Po Valley was however postponed, because of the German breakthrough in the Belgian Ardennes. Orders for the 6th General Hospital were rescinded and everyone sat in an empty hospital until April, being sent off on Detached Service or leave until almost none of the personnel were left. Even the CO was unexpectedly ordered home on 19 March 1945.

21 April 1945, Liberation of Bologna, Italy.  Preparation for the city’s official ‘Liberation’ ceremony. Bologna was liberated by Polish Forces (8th British Army) aided by groups of Italian Partisans who had started the initial insurrection against the Germans. This was to become the 6th General Hospital’s second fixed station in Italy.

Finally orders were received for another move, this time to Bologna. The advance party reached town on 29 April, the main party 1 May, having come by train to Florence, thence by truck over Routes 65 and 64, and by 10 May, almost all the Officers and Nurses had arrived  from the various places they had been working. A new CO arrived, Colonel Wm. O. H. Prosser, MC, who came from the 70th General Hospital. The Surgical Service was now housed in a large, modern, four-story building at the foot of a steep hill on the southern edge of the city, where it occupied the third and fourth floors. Again it was a battle against time involving engineers, plumbers, electricians, civilian masons, and wards temporarily occupied by Enlisted Men using them as quarters. Veterans of two major moves, the service set up a model establishment with greatly improved efficiency, based on former experience. Rooms were spacious.
The first wards opened on 9 May, and by 1 June, bed capacity was already 820. 796 patients had been admitted, 106 discharged; 393 operations had been carried out, with a mortality of 10 deaths. Now, patients were not only Americans, but for the most part German soldiers. The treatment they had been given in their own Hospitals seemed unbelievably antiquated and crude. It was surprising that so many survived. After V-E Day was celebrated, work continued, but without hindrance of blackout and with German PWs to work on the German wards. All Hospital signs and printed rules and directions had to be in English, Italian, and German, with personnel problems becoming complicated indeed.
Then came Redeployment, starting with transfer of Officers to other units for further overseas duty and their replacement by Officers not eligible or needed for overseas assignment. Some left and were replaced. Mid June  1945, it was officially announced that the Italian Theater was breaking up and that work was practically over. Nevertheless, many men were uneasy about being selected to go the Pacific, or the Army of Occupation. It was not to be, and the unit remained in Italy until its inactivation.

Dental Service – 6th General Hospital
When the 6th GH was stationed at Camp Blanding, Florida, the Dental Service learned the rudiments of the trade from the Camp Dental Surgeon, Colonel Lynn H. Tingay (he was also in North Africa where he was Dental Surgeon for NATOUSA and later MTOUSA). Dental Officers and Enlisted personnel were assigned to Camp Dental Clinics where much work was performed on troops. Two hygienists, Levina T. Hine and Herberta Turner were not allowed to follow the unit overseas, but before leaving, they devoted considerable time in the training of Enlisted Men. The day after arrival at the Staging Area at Camp Kilmer, it was learned that the Dental Service, as well as the other medical personnel and Nurses were to be distributed throughout the different ships of the convoy, and establish dental clinics on the respective vessels.

Arrival of the 6th General Hospital’s equipment at Bologna, Italy. Picture taken during the first week of May 1945.

Two days after arriving at Casablanca, North Africa, Dental and EENT Clinics were assigned rooms on the second floor of the main building (5 rooms were still occupied by a French family and it took a whole month before they vacated the place –ed). A white-tiled kitchen with large windows lent itself admirably for the purpose of a Dental Laboratory. Failing electrical power was overcome by installing generators. From time to time expendable supplies such as gold and teeth were difficult to obtain, but this was solved when adequate Medical Supply Depots were formed. A mutual exchange of Dental Officers was made in August of 1943 with the 12th Army Air Force, while an Italian-speaking Tec 5 was transferred to the 1st Infantry Division who badly needed one. Two Dental Technicians were added to the service.
Every ambulatory patient in the Hospital came to the Dental Clinic for examination and completion of all necessary dental work. Captain Daniel J. Holland, and Captain Somers H. Sturgis, of the Maxillo-Facial Team, went on DS on 31 August to 17 October for the purpose of making a study of maxillo-facial casualties and their treatment. They visited all American and British Hospitals in the North African Theater and obtained much available information. While in Africa, the service was able to make acrylic jacket crowns as some of the Dental Officers (at their own expense) had brought with them the necessary material. The news spread like wild fire so that the fame of the 6th General Hospital Prosthetic Department was bringing patients from hundreds of miles to obtain their services. Captain Hermann B. F. Seyfarth was transferred to the 225th Station Hospital 25 April 1944 (he returned 17 Jun 44) and Captain Robert S. Wands was assigned 7 May during the final stages of closing the Hospital in preparation for the next move (to Italy).Captain Daniel J. Holland went on DS 25 May to join Colonel Lynn H. Tingay who was preparing the History of Dentistry since the starting of the war.

When in Rome, a Maxillo-Facial ward under the direction of the Dental Service was established which proved very satisfactory. Captain D. J. Holland returned from his assignment on 11 October and took over the ward upon his return. With, at times, 2,400 patients in the hospital, along with outpatients, there were not many dull moments. On 18 December, Captain Holland went back to work with Colonel Tingay. In January of 1945, the Dental Service was pretty well broken up with 3 Officers and 6 EM on Detached Service. Only a single Dental Officer was assigned to the unit on 1 March. More people left in the course of April.

1 May 1945 found the 6th General Hospital in Bologna occupying its last station in Italy. After many trials and tribulations with local plumbers and electricians, a very good Dental Clinic was set up in a vacant office space.   4 Officers returned from their various TD assignments to work in the Service. Meanwhile, 3 Enlisted Men who had more than 90 points (ASR) left for the United States, unfortunately these high-caliber Technicians were never replaced. Personnel losses continued with Dental Officers leaving for the Naples Replacement Center, and the 37th General Hospital. Only 2 Officers joined the unit to compensate for the previous losses.
During their stay overseas, the Dental Service recorded 33,963 sittings, just to show that there were not many idle moments in their existence.

Laboratory Service – 6th General Hospital
The Laboratory Service was organized at Camp Blanding shortly after activation of the 6th GH. Its CO was Major J. H. Talbott, with Officers like Captain E. R. Sullivan and 1st Lieutenant Sedgwick Mead. During its existence, the group was raided from time to time for cadres and incurred other losses to OCS and the Army Air Forces. With no own Hospital to run in those early days, the Officers organized a training course in laboratory technique, consisting of lectures and demonstrations. Some arrangements were made for practical work in the Station Hospital, a welcome variation from the training films, close-order drills, and hikes in the alternating Florida sun and rain.

Colonel William O. H. Prosser, Commanding Officer of the 6th General Hospital from 4 May 1945 until 30 July 1945.

At Camp Kilmer, the unit lost its leader, as Major J. H. Talbott had to remain in the Zone of Interior for an important mission for the Quartermaster Corps.

In Casablanca, a strange new world opened up. The unit occupied three separate rooms in the east wing of the Young Girls’ School of Mers Sultan. There were of course plumbing and distilled water troubles and the unit had to improvise and design its own terrazzo autopsy table, and learn to speak French. Exotic diseases were discovered at both the French and Arab Hospitals, including plague, typhus, typhoid, smallpox, leprosy, oriental sore, florid syphilis, and rabies. On 12 June 1943, the Lab lost Major E. R. Sullivan to DS with Allied Force Headquarters (AF), and acquired all the work of the 2d Medical Laboratory. With a large dysentery epidemic raging at the time, personnel were forced to stay on duty until late at night for several weeks. In the end the unit became the consulting laboratory for all units in the Atlantic Base Section. As with the other Departments, some people were acquired, some were lost.

The move to Rome was accomplished with less difficulty than imagined, and nearly everything arrived intact on site, except a carboy of sulphuric acid which unfortunately ate its way through some ANC lingerie. The Laboratory was assigned a large room and two corridors, in one of which was set up a Blood Bank, and a separate penicillin service. Apart from some very busy days during the summer of 1944, most of the stay in Rome was a leisurely one. Two men were returned home with illness, but were replaced with two men acquired from the training program with available patients.

Quite a few men were on DS when the unit was ordered to move to Bologna and re-open a station, after the German Armies unconditionally surrendered. It felt as something of an anticlimax, nevertheless everything was re-packed in time for the move to Bologna. After re-opening, the Blood Bank functioned smoothly with an inexhaustible supply of PWs from the Modena PW Cage. The Lab lost men to Redeployment, transfers, and to re-assignment to other Departments in the Hospital. The overall record of property loss and damage was so low that it was approached by no other Service in the Hospital, in spite of a large and complex inventory.

Roentgenological Service – 6th General Hospital
While stationed at Camp Blanding, Florida, the Service studied textbooks on physics, anatomy, and roentgen technique for almost eight long months, and when available, used the resources of the local Station Hospital. Much time was spent assembling X-Ray machines, practising the positioning of patients, and doing everything over and over again. The time devoted to X-Ray was well spent, for it helped develop individual skills, team work, esprit de corps, and confidence.

On arriving at Casablanca, the building assigned to the unit was not ready for occupancy (this lasted 6 weeks) and a temporary Roentgenological Department was therefore set up in one of the orthopedic wards. The X-Ray room was ready to operate when the first patient was admitted on 8 March 1943. The very first months exceeded the most optimistic predictions regarding the amount of work. Patients arrived in deluge and the 3 available machines operating in cramped and inadequate rooms ran 12 to 16 hours per day in order to perform the requested examinations. The work of the Technicians was further complicated by the numerous Arab workmen busy in the building. As the volume of work increased to office had to be moved out into the corridor, where it was in danger of being overrun by the patients, whose folding cots were beginning to fill every corridor and alcove. It was with great pleasure that everyone moved to the permanent building on 8 April 1943 (it was a historical building and the first French School built in Casablanca). Although a wooden structure, the amount of space, the arrangement of the rooms, and the lead protection that was installed, made it quite satisfactory for its purpose. The unit occupied the building for thirteen months with all the supplies, equipment, and conveniences expected in a Hospital of the ZI. Personnel developed into highly qualified Technicians and time spent in French Morocco was an interesting and productive period for the Service. Captain Stanley M. Wyman developed an improved spotfilm device for the taking of instantaneous films during fluoroscopy.

Headquarters office of the 6th General Hospital in Bologna, Italy, May 1945.

The trip to Italy, first by train to Oran, Algeria, and “Goat Hill”, and then by Hospital Ship to Naples was an interesting experience for everyone. At Maddaloni, all the Enlisted Technicians were sent out on DS to hospitals operating in and around Naples where they had ample opportunity to see how other x-ray services operated and to gather new ideas and methods. On arrival at the “Instituto Buon Pastore” in Rome, the Roentgen Service was assigned a suite of 10 rooms on the second floor. Moving the large pieces of equipment caused quite a few problems but the job was well executed with some extra assistance. On opening the crates, it was however discovered that the equipment had fared rather badly during the trip by train, boat, and truck from Africa. Several tubes although packed in sawdust, cork and excelsior, were broken into a thousand pieces and some upright steel rods, 5 inches in diameter, were bent like safety pins. The equipment was either repaired or replaced with service back in full operation on 7 July. The next months proved to be the busiest overseas, with a peak in August 1944 when 2,000 examinations were performed on 1,800 patients. Mostly fresh battle casualties came in, who required a great deal of x-ray study before and after surgery. 7 new men joined the staff and were quickly formed with classes and practical demonstrations while learning on the job. During fall of 1944, the amount of work gradually diminished, and it was time to pack once more for another move. Early in January, some Officers were sent on DS to the 15th Field Hospital and the 99th Field Hospital, with the remainder of the staff staying at Headquarters where they participated in a basic training and education program, while meanwhile enjoying the cultural life of Rome.

On or about 1 May 1945, all detached personnel were recalled and the entire Hospital moved to Bologna for a final setup. The Roentgenological Service was conveniently installed on the third floor, near the operating rooms and orthopedic wards, and where space and arrangements were very satisfactory. Personnel losses occurred with 6 of the best Technicians gone. Between 8 March 1943 and 25 July 1945, the Roentgen Service had 21,346 patients and performed 22,281 examinations. There were of course some periods of inactivity, but on the whole there was a good share of radiological work during the North African and Italian campaigns.

Hospital Guards Unit – 6th General Hospital
This ‘special’ unit was introduced in Casablanca and comprised a force of approximately 20 men to protect buildings and personnel, and to discourage equipment theft by locals. The only available weapons were the ‘heavy’ 36-inch wood-and-metal tent pins. During the fear of a possible Arab uprising (30 Jan > 1 Feb 44) the guards were issued Springfield rifles with one clip of 30.06 rounds apiece and the Hospital Detachment was restricted to quarters. A regular Guard Detail was finally turned over to the leadership of Sgt. Robert T. Parent.
While in Casablanca, French Morocco, the Guards drilled once a week and soon became a very snappy unit. During their stay in Africa they would serve as Honor Guard for presentation of the Purple Hearts once a week. In Rome and Bologna, the 6th Guards were responsible for protecting equipment and allowing no one to enter the hospital grounds without the proper credentials.

Chaplains – 6th General Hospital
Four Chaplains joined the 6th GH, but only one would remain with the unit until the end of the war. When the 6th GH was activated on 15 May 1942, Captain Carroll M. Boland, ChC, O-428318, was transferred from Alexander N. Stark General Hospital, Charleston, South Carolina, and ever stayed with the unit since that period. He was the first Catholic Chaplain the unit ever had in two wars. Gerald C. Lucey was his assistant.
Chaplain Steve B. Parker, ChC, a Minister in the Methodist Church and Chaplain with the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was furloughed and placed on active duty with the Armed Forces. Major Parker was ordered overseas from Fort Riley, Junction City, Kansas (CRTC) in April 1943 to join the 6th GH and replace Chaplain William E. Arnold, ChC, O-460636. Major S. B. Parker was assisted by Luther E. Pfiester and William A. Kregeloh. At the same time Chaplain Wallace O. Andrews, ChC, also joined the Hospital.

Entrance of the 6th General Hospital buildings, Bologna, Italy. 

American Red Cross Personnel – 6th General Hospital
The first home of the Red Cross Detachment was on the third floor of the Hospital administration building in Casablanca, French Morocco. As the room was rather inaccessible to patients, a prefabricated hut was set up in the courtyard. Craft shop, library, ping-pong table, writing and reading room, radio, chairs, divans, tables, parallel bars, horseshoe courts, were all made available.
The second home was part of the spacious ward on the first floor of the hospital building in Rome, Italy. Not only did it provide the same equipment as in Casablanca, its ward made a lovely hall for dances and receptions. The third and last home of the Red Cross was situated on the third floor of the hospital building in Bologna.
The American Red Cross personnel often visited the wards and bed-patients on a regular basis to see if there was any service which they could perform, such as letter writing, reading, running errands, purchasing stamps, mailing money orders, sending packages, etc. They distributed comfort supplies, books, games, organized bingo and other parties in the wards, supervised a ward craft program, and often talked to the sick and wounded.

The following ARC workers joined the 6th General Hospital for the larger part of its overseas assignment. They included; Josephine Barbour, Evelyn Maley, Karolyn Krakowski, Doris Deck, Carolyn Evans, Kay Johnson. 3 new Red Cross workers joined the command in 1945; Joan Newkirk, Eileen Fenton, and Helen Trolan. By mid-August, there were no ARC members assigned to the Hospital (all transferred, or returned to the US).

Main entrance of the 6th General Hospital in Bologna, Italy. The unit was stationed in the city from 9 May to 10 August 1945, operating a 1,500 bed hospital. Photo courtesy Doug & Beth Gillette.

Assigned Army Postal Unit – 6th General Hospital
The 764th Army Postal Unit was a satellite outfit assigned to the 6th GH for the purpose of providing postal services. Activities included receipt, forwarding, delivery and dispatch of mail, issuance and cashing of money orders, sale of stamps, registration of letters, insurance of parcels and packages, and provision of V-Mail envelopes. The official APO number was 764.
The APU joined the Hospital on 1 October 1943, at Casablanca, French Morocco. 1st Lieutenant John J. Dunworth (with 15 years of civilian postal experience) supervised all operations. Further personnel consisted of 2d Lieutenant Oren R. Lyon, Sgt. Max W. Greener, and Cpl. John H. Dow. Some people returned home in fall and winter of 1944 and were duly replaced with new personnel.

“Kelley’s Comet”, Hospital Train No. 42-A1 – 6th General Hospital
The above nickname was the commonly accepted designation of Hospital Train No. 42-A1 run during spring of 1945 by the 6th General Hospital. It referred to the caliber of the crew rather than to its speed or number of trips. In response to an urgent appeal for operating personnel, a hand-picked group of 3 Officers, 6 Nurses, and 37 Enlisted Men left Rome on 17 January to take over the train at Leghorn.
Only 5 trips were in fact made with patients; 2 between Montecatini and Leghorn – 2 between Pistoia and Leghorn – and 1 from Florence to Naples with wounded German soldiers.
The Hospital Train became the unofficial “6th General, North”. On all missions the crew performed admirably; patients were grateful for the good food, particularly the chocolate pudding, and the Train Commander, Major Sylvester B. Kelley, MC, O-263279, had nothing but praise for Sgt. John and his teams who transferred all those patients without the loss of a single blanket.

Temporary Assigned Personnel – 6th General Hospital
On 14 July 1945, the 90th Italian Service Company (23d Italian Service Battalion) was assigned to the Hospital to supplement some of its service personnel. This Company was made up of 5 Officers and 214 Alpini, all from Northern Italy, who were quickly put to good use as litter bearers, laborers, cooks’ helpers, and janitors (supplementary personnel were necessary to maintain PBS Hospitals in operation during periods of emergency expansion, and thus more reliance had to be placed on Italian civilians and Italian service troops, former PWs, which were effectively used for sanitary, utility, mess, laundry, supply, motor pool, and common labor details).

Patients relax in the 6th General Hospital’s large reading room and library, Bologna, Italy.

Arrival and Operations in Theater

The Hospital officially arrived in the Mediterranean Theater 20 February 1943 and served in French Morocco (Casablanca) and Italy (Rome and Bologna). Official Campaign credits include Rome-Arno and Po Valley (Italy). The Hospital was inactivated at Leghorn, Italy, on 15 September 1945.

Overseas Stations
Casablanca, French Morocco 27 February 1944 > 14 May 1944 (1,000-bed capacity)
Rome, Southern Italy 30 June 1944 > 22 December 1944 (1,500-bed capacity)
Bologna, Northern Italy 9 May 1945 > 10 August 1945 (1,500-bed capacity)

 

6th General Hospital Staff
Colonel Thomas R. Goethals, MC, O-219439 Commanding Officer 15 May 42 > 19 Mar 45
Base Surgeon, Atlantic Base Section, Casablanca 1 Jan 44 > 14 May 44
Colonel William O. H. Prosser, MC Commanding Officer 5 May 45 > 30 Jul 45
Colonel Donald S. King, MC, O-413283 Chief of Medical Service, Commanding Officer 30 Jul 45 > 15 Sep 45
Colonel William C. Knott, MC, O-18922 Executive Officer (May 42) left to command 26th Sta Hosp, Algiers, Algeria (Aug 43)
Lt. Colonel Thomas S. Hamilton, MC, O-401975 Executive Officer (Aug 43)
Lt. Colonel Doris K. Knights, ANC Principal Chief Nurse
Lt. Colonel James R. Lingley, MC, O-398797 Chief of Roentgenological Service
Lt. Colonel Robert G. Rae, DC, O-443821 Chief of Dental Service
Lt. Colonel Horatio Rogers, MC, O-398035 Chief of Surgical Service (Oct 41)
Lt. Colonel John H. Talbott, MC, O-398002 Chief of Laboratory Service (May 42)
Lt. Colonel W. T. S. Thorndike, MC Registrar
Major Marshall K. Bartlett, MC, O-397995 Chief of Septic Surgery Section (Oct 41)
Major Edward F. Bland, MC, O-397996 Asst. Chief of Medical Service (Feb 43)
Major Henry H. Faxon, MC, O-399190 Chief of Orthopedic Section (Oct 41)
Major Trygve Gundersen, MC, O-400411 Chief of EENT Section (Oct 41)

Technician 5th Grade John R. Gillette, ASN 32132310, standing in front of a bunker somewhere in Italy, 1944. Photo courtesy Doug & Beth Gillette.

Major E. B. Herwick, MAC
Major James A. Halstead, MC, O-402674 Surgical Officer
Major Sylvester B. Kelley, MC, O-263279 Chief of Urologic Section (Oct 41)
Major Samuel M. Klein, MC Surgical Officer
Major Alfred Kranes, MC, O-425891 Surgical Officer
Major Herman Nathan, QMC, O-261856 Quartermaster Supply Officer, Chief of Utilities Department, Chief of Motor Pool, Chief of General Supply Section (Mar 43)
Major Merrill O. Parker, MC, O-497787
Major Steve B. Parker, ChC Protestant Chaplain (Apr 43)
Major Langdon Parsons, MC, O-401328 Chief of General Surgery Section (Oct 41)
Major Eleanor B. Pitman, ANC Assistant Chief Nurse
Major Charles L. Short, MC, O-178366 Surgical Officer
Major Grantley W. Taylor, MC, O-398376 Asst. Chief of Surgical Service (Oct 41)
Major William T. S. Thorndike, MC, O-410136
Major James H. Townsend, MC, O-401418
Captain Otto E. Aufranc, MC, O-398072 Orthopedic Surgery Section Ward Officer (Oct 41)
Captain Bradford S. Bennett, MC Surgical Officer
Captain Carroll S. J. Boland, ChC, O-428318 Catholic Chaplain (May 42)
Captain Mary A. Cannin, ANC Chief Nurse, Medical Supervisor
Captain Joseph A. Chapman, MC Laboratory Officer
Captain Helen J. Coghlan, ANC Chief Nurse, Operating Rooms Supervisor
Captain Lowrey F. Davenport, MC, O-398034
Captain Joseph E. DeMers, DC, O-464887 Dental Officer
Captain W. L. Fiegel, MC Surgical Officer
Captain John R. Frazee, MC, O-273819 Otolaryngology Surgery Section Ward Officer (Oct 41)
Captain M. H. Hatcherian, MAC Mess Officer (May 43)
Captain James T. Hayes, MC Surgical Officer
Captain Henry L. Heyl, MC, O-436947 Neuro Surgery Section Ward Officer (Oct 41)
Captain Daniel J. Holland, DC, O-413980 Dental Officer
Captain Louise H. Hollister, ANC Chief Nurse, Surgical Supervisor
Captain Theodore H. Ingalls, MC, O-398990 Surgical Officer
Captain George S. Jenkins, MC, O-481129
Captain James E. Jones, MAC Asst. Registrar
Captain James J. Kistler, MC Surgical Officer
Captain Alfred O. Ludwig, MC,O-273833
Captain John R. McCann, DC Dental Officer
Captain Travis C. Meitzen, MC Surgical Officer
Captain Karl R. Otteson, MAC Commanding Officer Detachment of Patients, Adjutant
Captain Spiros P. Sarris, MC, O-346359 Anesthetist Ward Officer (Oct 41)
Captain Hermann B. F. Seyfarth, DC, O-438627 Dental Officer
Captain Dan D. Smith, MC Surgical Officer
Captain Virgil D. Smith, MC, O-322089
Captain Elinor C. Stacy, ANC Chief Nurse, Anesthesia Supervisor
Captain Oscar S. Staples, MC Orthopedic Surgery Section Ward Officer (Oct 41)
Captain Somers H. Sturgis, MC, O-397008 Maxillofacial Surgery Section Ward Officer (Oct 41), Surgical Officer
Captain Howard I. Suby, MC Urology Surgery Section Ward Officer (Oct 41)
Captain Eugene R. Sullivan, MC, O-398217 Ophthalmology Surgery Section Ward Officer (Oct 41), Laboratory Officer (May 42), Asst. Chief of Laboratory Service
Captain Howard Ulfelder, MC Thoracoplastic Surgery Section Ward Officer (Oct 41)
Captain Claude E. Welch, MC, O-398031 General Surgery SectionWard Officer (Oct 41)
Captain Benjamin R. Wiltberger, MC Surgical Officer
Captain William S. Worthy, MC, O-341152 Detachment Commanding Officer (May 42), Surgical Officer
1st Lieutenant William E. Arnold, MC, O-460636
1st Lieutenant Robert M. Bailey, III, DC, O-468072 Dental Officer
1st Lieutenant Edward Bredl, MAC Asst. Mess Officer
1st Lieutenant Gus B. Bowman, CE, O-455866 Chief of Utilities Department, Chief of Motor Pool (Jan 43)
1st Lieutenant William C. Burrage, MC, O-331998 Detachment Commanding Officer (May 42)
1st Lieutenant Edwin L. Cantlon, MC, O-404253 Asst. Ward Officer (Oct 41)
1st Lieutenant Daniel S. Ellis, MC, O-439364
1st Lieutenant Hilton H. Fowler, MAC, O-387939 Chief of Motor Pool (May 42), Chief of Medical Supply Section (Feb 43)
1st Lieutenant Marlow B. Harrison, MC, O-401978 Surgical Officer
1st Lieutenant Frank J. Holmes, AGD Asst. Detachment Commanding Officer
1st Lieutenant Knowles B. Lawrence, MC, O-401976 Surgical Officer
1st Lieutenant Claude McGahey, MC, O-402996 Surgical Officer
1st Lieutenant John B. McKittrick, MC, O-402997 Surgical Officer
1st Lieutenant Sedgwick Mead, MC, O-401839 Laboratory Officer, Asst. Chief of Laboratory Service
1st Lieutenant Amon D. Roberson, MAC Information & Education Officer
1st Lieutenant Joseph H. Rudd, MAC Chief of Motor Pool
1st Lieutenant Jacob Schiffman, MAC Chief of General Supply Section (Sep 44)
1st Lieutenant Walter Singer, MAC Special Service Officer
1st Lieutenant Larry E. Sparks, MAC Mess Officer (Nov 44)
1st Lieutenant Stanley M. Wyman, MC, O-436752 Asst. Chief of Roentgenological Service
2d Lieutenant Thomas J. Corbell, MAC Asst. Mess Officer (May 45)
2d Lieutenant William J. Cunningham, MAC Headquarters, Administrative Assistant
2d Lieutenant E. B. Herwick, MAC Asst. Detachment Commanding Officer (Jul 42)
2d Lieutenant Rudolph A. Jarvey, MAC, O-339468 Personnel Officer
2d Lieutenant William R. Mathews, MAC Headquarters, Personnel Officer
2d Lieutenant Oscar E. Ostrom, MAC Chief of Motor Pool
2d Lieutenant W. A. Stewart, MAC Headquarters, Personnel Department
Warrant Officer, JG Joseph Bernard L. Yargeau, W-2105536 Headquarters, Administrative Assistant

Partial view of the 6th General Hospital’s laboratory in Bologna, Italy.

Nurses and attached Personnel
 
Arline E. Adams, PT Beth E. Andrews, HD
Florence Annese, ANC Dorothy S. Ayre-Guthrie, ANC
Grace R. Babcock, ANC Patricia Baker, ANC
Josephine Barbour, ARC Deborah Bardwell, ANC
Katherine C. Barrett, ANC Laurianne Beaudette-Graham, ANC
Helen Beer, ANC Christine I. Behr, ANC
Julia Binns-Cady, ANC Evelyn Blaney, ANC
Rita L. Boyle, ANC Geraldine R. Brandon, ANC
Loretta L. Brassard, ANC Jessie E. Brooks, ANC
Flora Brown, ANC Linda Burgess, ANC
Mary L. Casey, ANC Priscilla T. Chandler, PT
Elizabeth D. Charleston, ANC Frances M. Charman, ANC
Helene Chartrand, ANC Dorothy Chrystal, ANC
Lula Clarke, ANC Thelma B. Cogswell, ANC
Margaret Coney, ANC Alice Corcoran, ANC
Eleanor Crafts, ANC Anna L. Creighton, ANC
Marguerite L. Croft, ANC Marguerite Cronin, ANC
Wilma A. Day, ANC Doris A. Deck, ARC
Rita Donovan, ANC Kathryn Driscoll, ANC
Caroline Eaton, ANC Margaret F. Emery, ANC
Edna L. Emerson-Howe, ANC Carolyn Evans, ARC
Annette Eveleth, ANC Jean S. Fairs, ANC
Eileen Fenton, ARC Helen Fitzgerald, ANC
Jane Flanigan, ANC Helen A. Forrant, ANC
Rita A. Frank, ANC Mary A. Frazer, ANC
Sarah M. Gallagher, ANC Eunice Gamache, ANC
Ruth Gibbs, ANC Florence L. Giberti, ANC
Louis Goodale, ANC Virginia Griswold, ANC
Evelyn J. Grose, ANC Margaret H. Haggerty, ANC
Blanche B. Haley, ANC Thelma Hall, ANC
Emelyn Harlow, ANC Mary Harris, ANC
Lillian W. Harrod, ANC Constance Hayes, ANC
Margaret Hazen, ANC Helen G. Hewitt, ANC
Levina Hine, ANC Cynthia Holt, ANC
Lillian E. Hunt, ANC Edna Q. Hurd, ANC
Martha Jewell, ANC Harriet Johnsen, ANC
Helen Johnson, ANC Katherine Johnson, ARC
Mary W. Kennedy, ANC Evelyn V. King, ANC
Karolyn Krakowski, ARC Ruth Lawrence, ANC
Gertrude F. Leggett, ANC Loretta LeLacheur, ANC
Aurora L. Lemmo, ANC Catherine E. Lyons, ANC
Christine MacKinnon, ANC Mary MacSwain, ANC
Phyllis G. Madden, ANC Evelyn Mahaney-Martin, ANC
Margaret Mahoney, ANC Evelyn Malley, ANC
Barbara E. Maxwell, ANC Marjorie May, ANC
Jeannette McDonald, ANC Rose McDonald, ANC
Bessie McLellan, ANC Hazel McNeil, ANC
Hattie A. Miller, ANC Helen L. Miller, ANC
Marion E. Miller, ANC Dorothy Moles, ANC
Anna L. Moore, ANC Frances Morgan, ANC
Doris Murphy, ANC Vivian Nesgoda, ANC
Pauline I. Newcomb, ANC Joan Newkirk, ARC
Dorothy A. Nickerson, ANC Rita E. O’Leary, ANC
Ruth Penniman, ANC Barbara E. Peterson, ANC
Eunice B. Plant, ANC Celestine K. Pratt, ANC
Elizabeth A. Pritchard, ANC Frances G. Purcell, ANC
Tekla Quigley, ANC Gladys U. Raymond, ANC
Eleanor T. Rich, ANC Elizabeth F. Rogers, ANC
Eunice Rose, ANC Virginia L. Sears, ANC
Helen D. Shaw, ANC Louise Sherer, ANC
Irma J. Simeneau, ANC Ethel M. Slattery, ANC
Marion Smith, ANC Lillian Somers, ANC
Ruby St.Clair, ANC Anne B. Sunbery, ANC
Ann E. Tedesco, ANC Anna Tinkham, ANC
Christine Tobin, ANC Priscilla Tripp, ANC
Helen Trolan, ANC Herberta Turner, ANC
Kidd P. Warner, ARC Chloe D. Wilcox, ANC
Irene E. Willis-Murray, ANC Mary E. Wilson, ANC
Virginia E. Wyman, ANC  
   

Internal view of 6th General Hospital’s patients mess, Bologna, Italy.

Enlisted Men
   
M/Sgt Chester R. Snyder M/Sgt Ray O. Warner
T/Sgt Henry K. Cramer T/Sgt James Exner
T/Sgt Victor K. Fritz T/Sgt Irving Goldstein
T/Sgt Robert S. Melville T/Sgt Leonard Tamule
T/Sgt Robert P. Toal S/Sgt George N. Covett
S/Sgt Harry Davidson S/Sgt Joe DiFulvio
S/Sgt Glen W. Giebel S/Sgt Brian J. Glancy
S/Sgt Norman Karibian S/Sgt Frank R. Lovell
S/Sgt S. E. Manion S/Sgt Frank S. Miller
S/Sgt John H. Piper S/Sgt Richard W. Poole
S/Sgt Francis H. Richardson S/Sgt Alfred J. Rutecki
S/Sgt Jessie E. Smith Tec 3 Karl J. Arabian
Tec 3 Solomon Bronstein Tec Walter T. Durlak
Tec 3 Charles A. Ford Tec 3 James E. Harmon
Tec 3 Gordon S. Hayner Tec 3 Francis Kishman
Tec 3 Arthur Marschle Tec 3 Charles J. Petranto
Tec 3 Wilfred M. Planto Tec 3 George F. Rice
Tec 3 Verle Wilson Tec 3 Robert G. Wray
Sgt Paul Asker Sgt Andrew Asony
Sgt Henry W. Bliton Sgt M.V. Borela
Sgt Harold Brengel Sgt George H. Broecker
Sgt Mike F. Chunko Sgt Edgar DeSousa
Sgt Raymond A. Gangham Sgt Francis P. Gill
Sgt David M. Harrold Sgt Lloyd J. Hockenbury
Sgt Almor M. Imsland Sgt Robert C. Johnson
Sgt Robert Muggleton Sgt John F. O’Connell, Jr.
Sgt Oscar R. Olsen Sgt Telesfore B. Podalski
Sgt Lonnie L. Pullian Sgt Edward J. Rahn
Sgt Wilbur J. Riffle Sgt Marcus Rosenfeld
Sgt Joseph A. Sajanskas Sgt Henry Sherwood
Sgt Walter V. Sobecki Sgt Jesse W. Stacy
Sgt Alphonse J. Szcepanik Tec 4 Francis Adamowich
Tec 4 Joseph S. Battle Tec 4 Edward T. Burns
Tec 4 Harold A. Dahlborg Tec 4 Paul A. Daun
Tec 4 Charles G. Davis Tec 4 DeWitt Boze
Tec 4 Robert L. Dixon Tec 4 Leonard Donaldson
Tec 4 James C. Dunphy Tec 4 Robert L. Dykeman
Tec 4 William C. Foote Tec 4 Lewis C. Gilmore
Tec 4 Ralph K. Harley Tec 4 John E. Hayenga
Tec 4 William E. Hustead Tec 4 Joseph T. Jaskulski
Tec 4 Francis E. Kiah Tec 4 Frederick L. King

6th General Hospital, Camp Blanding, Florida. Photo taken 1 September 1942.
Courtesy Susan Bartlett Demp

Tec 4 John H. Lane Tec 4 Steven Maciejewski
Tec 4 Francis S. Martin Tec 4 George D. Martin
Tec 4 William L. Mattax Tec 4 Edward W. Maw
Tec 4 David McMoil Tec 4 Craig A. Miller
Tec 4 Leonard D. Miller Tec 4 John Miskowiec
Tec 4 Joseph M. Nowak Tec 4 John L. Pearson
Tec 4 Walter M. Pederson Tec 4 Luther E. Pfiester
Tec 4 Harold E. Propst Tec 4 John R. Proudfoot
Tec 4 Arthur S. Ridley Tec 4 Edward P. Robakiewicz
Tec 4 Stanley Rozynski Tec 4 Emory H. Sanders
Tec 4 William F. Sands Tec 4 Harry D. Scott
Tec 4 Manfred C. Schutz Tec 4 Edward Shaner
Tec 4 John F. Stack Tec 4 Carl R. Stevens
Tec 4 Ray E. Teichmann Tec 4 Francis O. Voci
Tec 4 Aaron R. White Tec 4 Robert H. Woodford
Cpl Angelo Alexander Cpl James A. Barba
Cpl Philip Cohen Cpl Henry B. Dolan
Cpl Floyd S. Engle Cpl William F. Foster
Cpl Edward Gosiorowski Cpl Tom Graves
Cpl Guido R. Haataia Cpl Philip J. Hartung
Cpl Benjamin S. Kinard Cpl Harold V. Kowalchick
Cpl Walter Kozik Cpl Leander Marschel
Cpl John Melisenski Cpl Orville Moritz
Cpl Robert T. Parent Cpl Phillip Pirrello
Cpl Bernie Priebe Cpl Frank Sikara
Cpl Danie Suvinski Cpl Michael Szepesi
Cpl Leo F. Voss Cpl Robert O. Williamson
Cpl Charles O. Zielke Tec 5 Harold V. Amick
Tec 5 William Anderson Tec 5 Rupert G. Bandy
Tec 5 Harold R. Bauer Tec 5 Robert S. Beaton
Tec 5 Chester W. Bevin Tec 5 Harold J. Billiet
Tec 5 Ned K. Blackett Tec 5 Clifford E. Bookout
Tec 5 Glenn M. Borning Tec 5 William J. Burrows
Tec 5 Finis M. Byrd Tec 5 Ralph D. Cook
Tec 5 Leonard L. Cramer Tec 5 Loyle E. Crosby
Tec 5 Jesse Cummings Tec 5 Herbert W. Cunningham
Tec 5 Phillip Daum Tec 5 James M. Donaldson
Tec 5 Lewis F. Dyer Tec 5 Theodore F. Dyspolski
Tec 5 Peter Dziewit Tec 5 Wayne G. Easterday
Tec 5 George E. Elliot Tec 5 John R. Gillette
Tec 5 Joseph A. Gudelis Tec 5 Levant G. Hall
Tec 5 William B. Hubbard Tec 5 Robert H. Jackson
Tec 5 Richard O. Kramer Tec 5 William A. Kregeloh
Tec 5 Steven Lacatena Tec 5 Lloyd E. Leach
Tec 5 C. G. Lucey Tec 5 John P. Ludden
Tec 5 Melvin Lund Tec 5 Joseph Madeo

Personnel of the 6th General Hospital housed in canvas tents in Italy, prior to moving to the “Istituto Buon Pastore” in Rome. Note the reinforced walls and additional door fitted to the tent. Some of the men are still wearing early blue denim fatigues. Photo courtesy Doug & Beth Gillette.

Tec 5 Francis Maguire Tec 5 Frank L. Marek
Tec 5 Clarence A. Meyers Tec 5 Francis P. Murray
Tec 5 Thomas Parker Tec 5 Epifanio B. Patino
Tec 5 Salvatore Piaza Tec 5 Howard C. Rayfield
Tec 5 Edward J. Reeder Tec 5 Merle V. Ringsreed
Tec 5 Lee Roberts Tec 5 Arthur E. Robinson
Tec 5 Dominick Sainato Tec 5 Frank Salter
Tec 5 Frank H. Savoy Tec 5 Robert C. Schaller
Tec 5 Leo P. Sciore Tec 5 Raymond Sell
Tec 5 George N. Shallcross Tec 5 Gene R. Sheets
Tec 5 Alfred Silvestri Tec 5 Robert L. Smith
Tec 5 Gerald E. Snyder Tec 5 Robert D. Sparks
Tec 5 Cody Stephenson Tec 5 Harold J. Stoff
Tec 5 Alfa P. Thayer Tec 5 Charles B. Waddell
Tec 5 David Weil Tec 5 Henry Weinberg
Tec 5 Harvey L. Weiss Tec 5 Kenneth C. Williams
Tec 5 Arnett Wilson Pfc Gordon Adams
Pfc Charles M. Allard Pfc Walter Allen
Pfc Robert Anderson Pfc Elizah Auman
Pfc Joseph Baron Pfc Dan Becker
Pfc John H. Borris Pfc Bruce Bryant
Pfc Earl Bryant Pfc Donald A. Burris
Pfc Alfred Burke Pfc M. L. Campolete
Pfc Anthony B. Calarco Pfc Wilson J. Chatelain
Pfc Arnold R. Cheek Pfc Edward Conway
Pfc Thomas J. Cordova Pfc Joseph E. Corvi
Pfc William Cox Pfc William B. Croas
Pfc George DeBoe Pfc Victor Difalco
Pfc Raymond Dillard Pfc Paul W. Doran
Pfc Richard J. Dunn Pfc Davis M. Durham
Pfc James Erickson Pfc Eyel Fanchald
Pfc Charles E. Farley Pfc Conrad Fitzgerald
Pfc William B. Flath Pfc Charles Folkkinen
Pfc Lester Gadova Pfc Anthony Giardina
Pfc Joe G. Gomez Pfc Harold N. Graunes
Pfc Albert Gunnupson Pfc Lloyd A. Hangen
Pfc Hilding R. Hanson Pfc Orville L. Hanson
Pfc Barbee F. Hart Pfc John Haushofer
Pfc Hay Hayden Pfc Walter Hayes
Pfc John Healy Pfc Chester Hein
Pfc Marvin A. Henjum Pfc James A. Herrie
Pfc John W. Hickman Pfc Arthur B. Hoag
Pfc Robert Hockberger Pfc Jack E. Holland, Jr.
Pfc John C. Hoobler Pfc Edward R. House
Pfc Harley Howard Pfc Joe J. Hughes
Pfc Samuel J. Hughson Pfc William A. Hupscher
Pfc A. William Hurley Pfc Johnnie Hurta
Pfc Richard Jack, Jr. Pfc James F. Jackson
Pfc Thomas Jackson Pfc Amos W. Johnson
Pfc Donald A. Johnson Pfc Gordon R. Johnson
Pfc Oren O. Jones Pfc Steve Jurynec
Pfc Elwood Keck Pfc Ollie L. Keese
Pfc Cecil C. Kelly Pfc Edward H. Kerr, Jr.
Pfc Marion E. King Pfc Homer W. Kingery
Pfc Bob J. Kingston Pfc Henry W. Koes
Pfc Manuel T. Korallis Pfc John J. Kowalewski
Pfc Melvin R. Kughn Pfc James B. LaCook
Pfc Albert J. Lafleur Pfc Gurney I. Lashley
Pfc Oneill LeBreton Pfc Joseph F. LeSage
Pfc Charles B. Lewis Pfc Jack C. Lynch
Pfc William H. Mann Pfc Samuel Markus
Pfc Carlos G. Mason Pfc Leon J. Masse
Pfc Ransom Mathews Pfc Robert B. McDaniel
Pfc Patrick McDonald Pfc William A. McPherson
Pfc Martin J. Merchant Pfc Clellie Mohler
Pfc Frank Molini Pfc Arnold H. Moore
Pfc Elwin H. Morgan Pfc Albert F. Natoli
Pfc Robert M. O’Connell Pfc Chester E. Oliver
Pfc William H. Ott Pfc Ben Parks
Pfc Leonard W. Paselk Pfc John P. Paulauskas
Pfc Austin H. Pearson Pfc Earl C. Pearson
Pfc W. W. Pelfrey Pfc Harlan O. Pelley
Pfc Edward C. Peris Pfc Eli Pinsker
Pfc Henry Piotrowicz Pfc Frank J. Polushny
Pfc Frank L. Price Pfc Louis L. Pryor
Pfc William J. Rayborn Pfc Merrild H. Richmond
Pfc Walter E. Rollins Pfc William E. Rowe
Pfc Mattie Royer Pfc Robert E. Salzer
Pfc Dominich R. Sarli Pfc Gustine Sender

Various traffic directions and unit signposts adorn downtown Bologna, Italy. Photo probably taken May-June 1945. Photo courtesy Doug & Beth Gillette.

Pfc Anthony Sganga Pfc Robert C. Shaw
Pfc Harry Simon Pfc Gustave Simonson
Pfc John Sivic Pfc Albert M. Skinner
Pfc Benjamin M. Smiley Pfc David J. Smith, Jr.
Pfc Louis Soldner Pfc Lawrence H. Stankowski
Pfc Henry C. Steiger Pfc Olice Stone
Pfc Odell W. Stout Pfc Clair Stowell
Pfc William H. Stracener Pfc Mack I. Stroud
Pfc Frank A. Stumpo Pfc John W. Sudduth
Pfc Walter S. Szostak Pfc Lester Thompson
Pfc Roland V. Torgeson Pfc John E. Unes
Pfc Grover C. Veteto Pfc Joseph L. VonCannon
Pfc Nelson B. VonHedt Pfc Robert E. Walk
Pfc Wilfred H. Ware Pfc Leo M. Webb
Pfc Norman Wells Pfc Byron J. Whitt
Pfc Horace P. Wildman Pfc Albert R. Williams
Pfc Morton Wilner Pfc Charles E. Wolfe
Pfc John A. Works Pfc Chester Young
Pvt Joseph E. Blanchette Pvt L. R. Boydston
Pvt P. E. Elsenscher Pvt Martin A. Fordahl
Pvt Peter P. Gerardi Pvt Martin Hensher
Pvt Paul H. Higucki Pvt Wayne A. Lindner
Pvt Joseph E. Macejewski Pvt David McManus
Pvt John Michaelis Pvt Donald F. Penny
Pvt Steve R. Phillips Pvt Edward Sikel
Pvt Burleigh L. Small Pvt Hillard Staggs
Pvt Arthur A. Suzuki  

6th General Hospital dental clinic at work in Bologna, Italy.

Finale:

The final function of the 6th General Hospital, after it was formally closed to patients, was to serve as a boarding house for troops en route to “Recreational Detached Service” in Switzerland. This was not a popular assignment with the Hospital personnel.
During late July, Hospital equipment was collected from the different Services and Departments and turned in to the various Supply Services. Many Officers had meanwhile been transferred to either the Zone of Interior, or assigned to other medical units in the Theater.
The 6th General Hospital formally closed station at Bologna on 10 August 1945, and on 14 August, the last and final echelon of personnel entrained for Leghorn (Livorno –ed), where it staged once more in the area of the 12th General Hospital. As of 15 August 1945, the unit’s total strength had been reduced to 60 Officers, 1 Warrant Officer, and 109 Enlisted Men, with the unit being reverted to Reserve status.

The 6th General Hospital received an official Commendation signed by General Joseph T. McNarney, MTOUSA, dated 16 October 1945 (addressed to the Board of Trustees, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA). General J. T. McNarney was named acting Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Theater of Operations, in September 1945.

View of one of the 6th General Hospital’s operating rooms in Bologna, Italy.

 

Admissions:
Cassablanca, French Morocco 18,052 patients
Rome, Italy 8,171 patients
Bologna, Italy 2,743 patients
Statistics:
Admissions Numbers
Disease 16,073 (approx. 55%)
Injury 4,983 (approx. 17%)
Battle Casualties 7,131 (approx. 25%)
PWs 779 (approx. 3%)
Dispositions Numbers
Duty 11,095 (approx. 38%)
Limited Services 2,802 (approx. 10%)
Transferred to other US Hospitals 3,790 (approx. 13%)
Evacuation to ZI 10,452 (approx. 36%)
PWs 763 (approx. 3%)
Died (including 3 PWs) 64 (approx. 0.2%)
First Patient Admitted Last Patient Discharged
Casablanca – 27 February 1943 Casablanca – 14 May 1944
Rome – 30 June 1944 Rome – 22 December 1944
Bologna – 9 May 1945 Bologna – 29 July 1945
Highest Achievements Number – Period
Largest Bed Capacity 2,423 (1 September 1944)
Largest Number of Beds Occupied 2,344 (4 October 1944)
Largest Number of Patients Handled in One Day 771 (4 March 1944)
Largest Daily Admissions 404 (19 June 1943)
Largest Daily Dispositions 749 (4 March 1944)
Largest Evacuation 747 (4 March 1944)

Following RR-1 Regulations, redeployment is implemented. 6th General Hospital personnel entruck for another destination. Many men were transferred to other medical units in the region or prepared for redeployment to the Pacific Theater. 


Our most sincere thanks go to Jerry L. Stokes, son-in-law of Captain William Steve Worthy, MC (O-341152) who served with the 6th General Hospital (as well as with other medical units) in World War 2. Jerry provided the MRC Staff with a copy of “The Story of the Sixth General Hospital”, which helped them edit a concise History of the unit’s service in the North African and Mediterranean Theaters of Operations.

Sample of a commendation awarded to the 6th General Hospital upon its inactivation.

This page was printed from the WW2 US Medical Research Centre on 23rd June 2018 at 20:05.
Read more: https://www.med-dept.com/unit-histories/6th-general-hospital/