Veteran’s Testimony – Mary A. W. DeLauder164th General Hospital
Mary Waters DeLauder was born 23 August 1919 in Warwick County, Newport News, Virginia. Her Parents were Mary Elizabeth Hooten and Arnett Nelson Waters. Mary had 2 brothers; Clyde (10 years her senior), and Clifford (8 years her senior). After completing 3 years of Nursing Studies, she graduated as a Registered Nurse in 1942. Mary joined the Riverside Hospital, at Newport News, Virginia (hospital opened in 1916 as a 50-bed medical facility, named Riverside Hospital in 1921 with a 70-bed capacity, considerable expansion works with major additions took place during 1941-45, increasing its bed capacity to 240 –ed), where she worked from 1942 to 1943, as a Private Duty Nurse, and on General Duty on both medical and surgical wards. She became a Medical Ward Supervisor during the latter stage of her stay with the Riverside Hospital, Newport News, Virginia.
Training & Assignment:
Nurse Mary took the oath of office 30 March 1944 and became a Reserve Nurse in the Army Nurse Corps, pending assignment to duty. Having applied for joining the Army Nurse Corps, Mary W. DeLauder entered active service on 1 April 1944 (yes, April Fools’ Day) and was appointed Second Lieutenant, ANC, serial number N-762179. Her Military Occupational Specialty was MOS 3449, Nurse, General Duty. Nurse Mary married Leslie Wendell DeLauder on 18 April 1943 (divorced him in 1945). She later re-married 11 January 1947, after meeting Harry Russell Holland, Jr.
Second Lieutenant M. W. DeLauder, ANC, reported for active duty 1 April 1944 at the Station Hospital, Fort George G. Meade, Baltimore, Maryland (Army Ground Forces Replacement Center, acreage: 18,048, troop capacity: 2,019 Officers and 35,131 Enlisted Men –ed), pursuant to Paragraph # 14, Special Order No. 73, Third Service Command, Baltimore, Maryland, dated 25 March 1944. She was ordered to complete the Basic Training Program for Nurses at Ft. George G. Meade, Maryland, from 6 April to 26 April 1944. During her stay at the post, she received the following equipment and clothing issue:
Equipment & Clothing issued 6 April 1944
1 Mask, Gas, Service
6 Caps, White
2 Pair of Shoes, White
12 Uniforms, White
1 Cape, Dark Blue
1 Sweater, Dark Blue
1 Pair of Anklets, Wool, Women’s
1 Cap, Service, Wool, Olive Drab, Nurses’
2 Jackets, Wool, Olive Drab, Women’s
1 Overcoat, Field, Olive Drab, Women’s
1 Raincoat, Parka-Type, Olive Drab, Women’s
5 Waists, Cotton, White, Women’s
2 Neckties, Women’s
1 Scarf, Women’s
1 Pair of Gloves, Leather, Dress, Women’s
1 Pair of Gloves, Wool, Olive Drab, Women’s
1 Bag, Utility, Nurses’
1 Pair of Shoes, Service, Women’s, Low
1 Pair of Overshoes, Arctic, 4-Buckle, Women’s
4 Pairs of Insignia (US + Branch)
On 29 April, Second Lieutenant M. W. DeLauder departed for Woodrow Wilson General Hospital, Staunton, Virginia (Thomas Woodrow Wilson, (former US President), designated General Hospital by War Department General Order No. 64, dated 24 November 1942, brick cantonment-type construction, capacity: 1,565 beds, received first patient 6 June 1943, specialties: general medicine, syphilis, general & orthopedic surgery, disposition of last patient 31 March 1946 –ed), pursuant to Orders dated 25 March 1944, signed by Second Lieutenant Mary M. Mauze, WAC, Assistant Personnel Officer. She reported at her new station the same day, and was assigned to the 1388th Service Command Unit, where she worked on chest, general medicine and contagion wards for 4 months. Following her training and initial assignment, she stated; “I enjoyed every minute of my military career”.
Clothing Issued 15 June + 25 July 1944
2 Skirts, Wool, Olive Drab, Women’s
2 Jackets, Cotton, Seersucker, Nurses’
4 Shirts, Cotton, Seersucker, Nurses’
4 Pairs of Slacks, Cotton, Seersucker, Nurses’
5 Complete Uniforms, Cotton, Seersucker, Nurses’
1 Cape, Olive Drab, Nurses’
1 Sweater, Women’s, Olive Drab
3 Caps, Seersucker, Nurses’
Between 8 and 15 July 1944, Mary was treated for nasopharyngitis returning to duty 15 July. She was granted leave of absence with pay for eight (8) days, effective 8 August 1944, as per Paragraph # 15, Special Order No. 215, Headquarters, Woodrow Wilson General Hospital, dated 4 August 1944.
Equipment Issued 11 August 1944
1 Helmet, Steel, M-1, Complete
1 Bag, Canvas, Field, Olive Drab, M-1936
1 Belt, Pistol or Revolver, M-1936
1 Can, Meat, M-1932 or M-1942
1 Canteen, M-1910 or M-1942
1 Cover, Canteen, Dismounted, M-1910
1 Cup, Canteen, M-1910 or M-1942
1 Fork, M-1926
1 Knife, M-1926
1 Spoon, M-1926
1 Pouch, First-Aid Packet, M-1942
1 Roll, Bedding, Waterproofed, M-1935
1 Strap, Carrying, General Purpose
1 Suspenders, Belt, M-1936
1 Necklace, Identification Tag with Extension
1 Pair of Shoes, Service, Women’s, Low
2 Blankets, Wool, Olive Drab, M-1934
Following Paragraph # 14, Special Order No. 191, Army Service Forces, Headquarters, Third Service Command, Baltimore, 2, Maryland, dated 10 August 1944, signed by Lieutenant Colonel Kathleen Mitchell, Principal Chief Nurse, Second Lieutenant Mary W. DeLauder was ordered to leave her current station on 1 September 1944, and proceed to Camp Kilmer, Stelton, New Jersey, for assignment to the 164th General Hospital (activated 15 July 1944 at Camp Grant, Rockford, Illinois). Meanwhile, two trains carrying the hospital unit left Camp Grant for Camp Kilmer in view of final preparations for movement overseas. The Hospital’s Chief Nurse was Major Carrie E. Barrett, ANC, N-7028651.
ANC Officer DeLauder reported for duty from the Woodrow Wilson General Hospital, Stanton, Virginia on 2 September 1944, being assigned to the 164th General Hospital, presently at Camp Kilmer, Stelton, New Jersey (Staging Area for New York Port of Embarkation, acreage: 1,815, troop capacity: 2,074 Officers and 35,386 Enlisted Men –ed), for transfer to a permanent station outside the continental United States.
While temporarily stationed at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, and being processed for movement overseas, the Nurses were issued the following additional equipment, clothing, and Medical Department items:
Items Issued 2 September 1944
Complete Set of Field Clothing & Equipment
Complete Herringbone Twill Impregnated Clothing
Geneva Convention Red Cross Armband
Additional Inoculation 5 September 1944
Item Issued 6 September 1944
War Department AGO Card, Form 65-10 (second pattern)
Traveling in convoy, RMS “Scythia” departed New York Port of Embarkation 12 September 1944. While enroute to the European Theater of Operations, the typhus inoculation was completed on board ship 16 September. The organization would become one of the first Army Hospitals to travel directly from the United States to France, without transiting through the British Isles.
After twelve days of sailing, the 164th General Hospital arrived at Cherbourg Harbor, France, 24 September 1944, from Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, as per Secret Orders. At one point during the journey, there was a submarine alert, and everyone was sent below deck until the area was cleared of any danger. After landing , the Enlisted Men were taken to the Valognes Staging Area, where they bivouacked, while the Nurses went to the installations of the 61st Medical Battalion, where they were set up for quarters and rations (supplied by the 5th Engineer Special Brigade). It took a while before the 164th was to reach its final destination, still occupied by personnel of the 58th General Hospital, although the unit was not operational and the site still under construction. Due to this situation, quite a number of personnel were placed on TD with other units requiring some additional medical support.
Mary’s first assignment was on Temporary Duty with the 5th General Hospital, as per VOCO, Normandy Base Section, 27 September 1944. The 5th General had seen great activity following D-Day and remained filled with casualties (the unit landed on Omaha Beach, France, 6 July 1944 –ed). She returned from this station to the 164th General Hospital upon completion of her temporary assignment on 18 October. The 164th Gen Hosp finally became operational at Bolleville, in the vicinity of La Haye-du-Puits on 23 October 1944.
On 18 November 1944, all Nurses assigned to the 164th Gen Hosp were to be issued the following clothing items:
Clothing Issued 28 November 1944
1 Jacket, Field, M-1943, Women’s
2 Waist, Wool, Women’s
2 Pair of Trousers, Women’s, Outer Cover
1 Pair of Trousers, Women’s, Wool Liner
4 Vest, Women’s, Winter
4 Pair of Panties, Women’s, Winter
2 Pair of Stockings, Wool, Knee-Length
2 Pair of Anklets, Wool, Women’s
1 Pair of Overshoes, Arctic, 4-Buckle, Women’s
During her service time with the 164th General in Normandy, France, Lieutenant M. W. DeLauder was Head Nurse on surgical wards, Block Nurse for one block of wards, including responsibility for 5 ward tents. She also worked in the EENT Clinic. By the end of November, the hospital received the necessary instructions to carry out a 200-bed expansion, thereby increasing its ward capacity to 42.
On 30 November 1944 a Typhus booster shot was received. By 1 December 1944, all Impregnated Clothing were turned in, as they were no longer necessary. Both staff and personnel were housed under tentage, and although the tents had been adequately winterized with the help of Army Engineers, and some form of heating installed, overall conditions were not ideal for the season. More than often the personnel felt the bitter cold.
All Impregnated HBT Clothing returned 1 December 1944
Admissions contained a mixed bag of patients, not only limited to American and Allied personnel, but also including German Prisoners of War and French civilians. Despite the ongoing medical operations, Officers and Enlisted Men continued training and special courses were attended both within the unit’s perimeter but also in other cities. An important change took place in May 1945, when the Hospital was designated a German Provisional Hospital, treating German PW patients (the 8047th Provisional Hospital, German –ed). Personnel never saw a dull moment after that. Diversity among the patients was extreme. The Germans were either quite old and should never have been in the war or very young, just children and youngsters. This was very sad. One of the enemy patients in particular had been injured severely during the Battle of the Bulge, but he was so brave and never complained. He must have been in his 50s. Everyone was so kind to him and in return he was very grateful to the hospital personnel. When one evening, upon returning on duty, Lieutenant DeLauder learned the patient had died during the day. Just one single casualty out of hundreds, but everyone had grown so fond of him and his sweet demeanor.
Fortunately, there were moments filled with humor … one of Mary’s tent mates, Second Lieutenant Marie F. Echterhoff, ANC, N-762072 (whose parents were of German descent) was assigned to the PW ward. She came in one evening, laughing, and told her fellow Nurses that one of the German patients spent the better part of the day complaining to his comrades – in German – about the Americans, telling them what to do and how to do it and so on. Marie let him carry on for a while and when she couldn’t take it any longer, let him have it in German! Needless to say, the PWs were very polite to everyone from that time forward.
On 21 June 1945, the personnel left Bolleville, France, entraining for Southern France. They arrived at the Marseille Staging Area on 24 June. Upon arrival 2 ½-ton trucks transported the Enlisted personnel to the Arles Staging Area, while the Officers proceeded by train to Marseille. 3 July 1945, everyone received smallpox vaccination, followed by a cholera vaccine given on 9 July (this was in contemplation of a possible transfer to another permanent station in the Pacific Theater of Operations –ed). There was indeed talk about being transferred to the CBI Theater.
While awaiting clearance, and further movement orders and transportation, the Nurses were issued the following equipment at the Marseille Staging Area, Southern France:
Equipment Issued 6 August 1945
1 Bag, Sleeping, Wool
1 Case, Water Repellent, Bag, Sleeping
1 Pair of Glasses, Sun, M-1944
1 Bar, Insect, Field
1 Cover, Mattress, White
1 Case, Powder, Insecticide
1 Bottle, Repellent, Insect
1 Release Chain Strap, Type 1, Helmet
1 Pair of Slacks, Women’s, Summer
1 Pair of Gloves, Mosquito
1 Headnet, Mosquito, M-1944
1 Liner, Jacket, Field, M-1943, Women’s
On 7 August 1944 Mary was promoted to the grade of First Lieutenant, ANC, in the Army of the United States, effective 23 July 1945, per Paragraph # 18, Special Order No. 206, Headquarters, United States Forces, European Theater (USFET), dated 25 July 1945 (copies of the official order were received by her from Headquarters Delta Base Section, APO 772, dated 1 August 1945).
All ANC personnel received another extra piece of clothing:
Clothing Item Issued 14 August 1945
2 Bandanas, Women’s, Olive Drab
First Lieutenant Mary W. DeLauder, ANC, N-762179, left Marseille (Arles Staging Area, APO 772), Southern France, on 23 August 1945, with the remaining personnel of the 164th General Hospital, traveling on board AP-139 “General C. G. Morton” (commissioned 7 July 1944, troop accommodation: 371 Officers and 4,395 Enlisted Men –ed), arriving at Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation (Camp Patrick Henry, Oriana, Virginia, Staging Area for HRPE, acreage: 1,649, troop capacity: 1,621 Officers and 22,916 Enlisted Men –ed), on 2 September 1945, as per Movement orders (the 164th General Hospital would be properly inactivated 9 November 1945 –ed). She remembered feeling sad in many ways to be returning home, as all Nurses had been so close and formed such great friendships during the war. After reaching Hampton Roads, Mary DeLauder was allowed one day off to visit her family. This was very exciting.
Lieutenant M. W. DeLauder left HRPE 4 September 1945 to proceed to the Reception Center, Fort Bragg, Fayetteville, North Carolina (Field Artillery Replacement Training Center, acreage: 129,422, troop capacity: 4,311 Officers and 76,175 Enlisted Men –ed), as duly instructed per Movement Order, Headquarters Virginia, dated 2 September 1945.
She reported for duty at the Regional Station Hospital, Fort Riley, Junction City, Kansas (Cavalry Replacement Training Center & School, acreage: 54,183, troop capacity: 3,078 Officers and 32,907 Enlisted Men –ed), on 29 October 1945, from the 164th General Hospital, Camp Sibert, Alabama, as per Paragraph # 36, Special Order No. 226, Headquarters 1479th Service Command Unit, Camp Sibert, Attalia, Alabama, dated 25 October 1945. While serving at Fort Riley, Mary became Charge Nurse for 4 wards. (Camp Sibert, Attalia, Alabama, Chemical Warfare Service Replacement Training Center & School, acreage: 37,394, troop capacity: 1,299 Officers and 22,738 Enlisted Men –ed).
On 18 December 1945, Mary received an influenza vaccine. From 9 January through 13 February 1946, she was sick in hospital , and although still ill, she was returned to quarters from 14 February to 10 March 1946.
On 12 March 1946 (because of her condition) Mary was relieved from assignment to the present station and attached, unassigned, to the Separation Center, Fort Dix, New Jersey, per Paragraph # 18, Special Order No. 48, Army Service Forces, Fort Riley, Kansas, dated 8 March 1946, with effective date 14 March 1946, signed by Major Susan W. Lafrage, Chief Nurse (in fact she was on terminal leave from 17 March to 10 May 1946, inclusive).
First Lieutenant Mary W. DeLauder was relieved from active duty as per RR 1-1 Regulations and ready for Demobilization (with an Adjusted Service Rating Score of 26 points, at 2 September 1945) at Fort Dix, New Jersey, Separation Center, effective 10 May 1946. She returned home to care for her father who was very ill.
Decorations received by Nurse Mary W. DeLauder:
American Campaign Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal
The MRC Staff are truly indebted to Nancy Robison, daughter of First Lieutenant Mary W. DeLauder, ANC (N-762179) who served with the 164th General Hospital in France during World War Two. She was instrumental in providing us with many service data and original photographs dating from her Mother’s service in the European Theater of Operations. Our sincere thanks go to her and her dear Mother for kindly sharing these precious recollections.