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Sylvain B. | all galleries >> Galleries >> D-Day: The eyewitness testimony of my grandmother >
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"We were a group of mobilized nurses. We belonged to the passive defense. In case of alerts, we were supposed to put on our blue armband with the two black letters “DP” embroidered on it and we had to take our helmet, gas mask and flash light.
On the night of June 6th 1944, I went back up from the Misericorde (TN: Christian clinic in Caen. French for “Misericordia”. A German officer was actually filming the nurses running out as the hospital was being bombed. The film is shown at Caen Memorial for peace) to the Bon Sauveur (TN: Hospital in Caen, French for “Good Samaritan”) with two patients. Terrified by this night, I took refuge in Saint-Camille, a first emergency service within the Bon Sauveur. I was feeling very safe and protected in there mainly because there was no storey. There I met up with two other nurses: Ms Allamic and Herbline. I also met Ms Blanchet and Ms Bataille who were interns. We were taking turns. I was on the noon to midnight shift team with Herbline. Dr Morice and Dr Lacroix were managing this department and had decided that nurses should always be present at any time. We treated so many injured that I can not recall the number.
I stayed at the Bon Sauveur until July 20, the day evacuation orders were given (TN: Caen was officially freed on July 20, 1 month and 16 days after D-Day. Nurses then had to move to other combat zone to save people). In the evening, a 6 ambulances convoy had been organized and we all departed for Bayeux. It was a long travel… We had to leave Caen before 10pm to avoid cannonades (TN: old term designing rounds of very heavy gunfire) form German who were shooting at the Bon Sauveur hospital from the Montpinson mount (77 points of impact on the hospital are still visible at the present time). We arrived in Bayeux the day after. It was the longest night of my life.

Ambulances tended to take more and more distance between each others. I could not understand why we would not stay all together in a group until the driver told me that it was better if only one ambulance explode on a mine instead of all of them, in a group.
We stopped at Carpiquet (TN: A small town where Caen’s airport is located) next to a big tree that was cut in half. There was a terrible bombing on the airfield. I was so scared that I wanted to leave. Nine injured persons were with me inside the ambulance. Among them M. Davy helped me to take it.
We went back on the road without lights. Although it was night time, we still could see everything from the bomb explosions lightning. There was no dark nights at this time…We had to stop so many times on the road to be able to go through bombing during the whole journey to Bayeux. Still now, even I try to forget, I can not help thinking about it. It was frightening.

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