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Lt. Marjorie Honstead: Over There: Experiences in the US Army Nurse Corps in WWII

316th Station Hospital
Camp Stover, Newton Abbot, England
(September 19, 1943-August 20, 1944)

"We sailed from New York Harbor on September 12th, 1943. The ship was a large English liner, the Mauretania. It was reported sunk on the trip of which we were a part- Apparently it wasn’t. We heard rumors of U. boats and the course was zig-zaggy across the North Atlantic. We also know depth charges were dropped."

Lt. Honstead’s Correspondence to her family in Topeka, KS - May 15, 1945.

Roughly 500 officers, nurses, and enlisted men served in the 316th General Hospital, a 750-bed installation which served troops stationed in the surrounding area during the pre-invasion period, and trained surgical teams that would serve on LST ships in the initial invasion period. The first American wounded began arriving on July 7, 1944.


Old Maid's Row

This photograph depicts what was known as “Old Maids Row” the nurses’ quarters at the 316th General Hospital. Lt. Honstead’s housing, Hut 3 is shown in foreground, which the residents nicknamed “Hellzapoppin.”


Interior of Hut 3 Interior of Hut 3, Lt. Honstead’s quarters.



Residents of Hut 3

Residents of Hut 3:
  1. Ruth Martin, "Marty"
  2. Louise McCall, "Mac"
  3. Lois Plaunt, "Pooch" or "Putsy"
  4. Marion Case, "Casey"
  5. Eleanor Boquet, "Johnny"
  6. Esther Bone, "Bac"
  7. Lorriene Rempe, "Remp"
  8. Maxine Nelson, "Max"
  9. Lois Pederson, "Pete"
  10. Jayne Carlson, "Jayne"
  11. Marjorie Honstead, "Hons"


"So our life in the E.T.O. started. We scrubbed and cleaned the wards. They were barren except for a cupboard and stove in the kitchen… It was several months before we really had patients. In the evenings our social life just consisted of walking about a mile to a quaint pub and drinking cider. I think we began to understand the English brogue and learned to count this money then. Later we graduated to dances sponsored by the line officers stationed around us- Anything from tankers to Navy, Air corps, AAF, Cavalry, engineers, Seabees – Everything"

Lt. Honstead’s Correspondence to her family in Topeka, KS - May 15, 1945


"Prior to D-Day, our mission was to service the troops in the area and it kept us busy. We even gave up drilling from exhaustion. As the great day neared we couldn’t get footing space on the walks and barely in the roads because of the tanks. And I’m very proud to say that it was a matter of months and months before we had our first death in the hospital."

Lt. Honstead’s Correspondence to her family in Topeka, KS - May 15, 1945


"During all this time we followed rigid black out regulations and would be reprimanded for the slightest crack of light. Our raid alerts were numerous and hardly a day passed that we didn’t count the members and fighters going out and coming back. When these alerts occurred day or night, we all had to drop what we were doing, grab our gas masks and helmets and report on the wards."

Lt. Honstead’s Correspondence to her family in Topeka, KS - May 15, 1945


“Then D-Day came! We were all restricted naturally- We waited for the casualties. We had increased our capacity to twice its normal strength with huge ward tents. Everything was in readiness. Time passed and still no wounded Yanks. Finally what happened? With our usual run of luck, we were chosen to care for German prisoners. And who should be able to get along with these jerries better than a gal with a thoroughly German sounding name. So for three weeks I worked, and I mean worked hard to help save a bunch of whimpering young German pups. They then were moved and very soon our own beloved G.I.s arrived.”

Lt. Honstead’s Correspondence to her family in Topeka, KS - May 15, 1945

Prison of war tag

Prisoner of War band: Date of Capture June 12, 1944: The 316th General Hospital briefly served as a Transit Hospital for German prisoners of war. These tags were tied around the necks of each prisoner, providing the capturing unit and the location taken into custody.


Back of prisoner of war tagOn the reverse side of the tag, the following statement, along with its German, Italian, and Japanese translations, has been crossed out:
“Prisoners of War will be warned not to mutilate, destroy, or lose their tags.
NO TAGS – NO FOOD.”





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