Washington University School of Medicine Oral History Project

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Nurses' quarters and trench, Base Hospital 21, Rouen, France
The nurses’ wooden barracks were located in the paddock area of the racetrack where Base Hospital 21 was stationed. The trench was meant to provide shelter during air raids. Though the American Red Cross initially provided supplies and uniforms for the nurses of Base Hospital 21, once the unit arrived in France it was evident that additional equipment was needed. Chief nurse Julia Stimson went into the city of Rouen to purchase broad-rimmed hats for the nurses to provide protection from the sun during the summer months. As the war progressed and the weather worsened, the London Chapter of the American Red Cross provided valuable assistance by sending rubber boots, sleeping bags, sheets, pillowcases, hot water bottles, instrument kits, rubber aprons, rubber coats and hats, and gray uniforms. The gray uniforms were a practical substitute for the original white uniforms, which were permanently stained.