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Hospital in Belfast

During my two year tour in England with the 401 Bomb Group in WW II, my squadron commander (Alvah Chapman) and I decided to spend a weekend leave in Belfast. We were flown from our base in England to Belfast in a B-17.

During my first evening in Belfast, I developed a high fever and flu like symptoms. I even thought that my neck was stiff (a symptom of meningitis). Ordinarily I would have thought that I just had a bad case of the flu. However I had just taken care of one of our boys on our base who had meningitis. Since I thought that I might have contracted his disease, we called the Army Hospital in Belfast. They send an ambulance to take me to the hospital. I told the admitting officer at the hospital about this exposure and insisted that he do a lumbar puncture on me. This was one procedure that I ordinarily would not relish. Fortunately, they found no cells in my spinal fluid so it was decided that it was just the flu.

It is amazing to see how my memory has faded over a period of sixty years. I remember being treated very well in the hospital. The nurses were friendly and I even remember, after I had recovered of being invited to a dinner where there were a number of officers and their Irish girl friends. I have no idea what type of function this was or how I managed to be invited. I remember a couple of girls who were attending the dinner who expressed bitter thoughts about the English. I was surprised to hear this as we were in Northern Ireland. Now I realize that they had to be Catholic girls. I guess that I thought that all of the Northern Irish were Protestant.

The strange part of my missing memory is that I do not remember how I returned to my base. I expect that I was picked up by a B-17.

To the Right - Base Deene Thorpe - 70 Miles North of London