The Parish Church of St George the Martyr, Waterlooville


17. The Fifties

So the 1950’s went by very quickly. The world was still troubled by wars, The Korean War was felt in England as our services were engaged in it, Governments changed but I’m afraid I was too busy to worry about politics. Television had arrived and it was easy to be able to watch it on television, if you had one, gone were the days of listening to John Snagge broadcasting during the war. The great excitement in the mid-fifties was the Coronation of Princess Elizabeth which was the first great effort to present this to everyone on television. As many others, we did not have a set of our own but spent the whole day with a local farmer, his family and many friends and most of the time when we were not eating or drinking, “watching the box”. I think people who were old enough at the time, will remember the excitement of the day, seeing the whole wonderful tapestry of Royalty as they were in those days, world famous people, the beautiful and the wealthy all together with the streets of London packed with people who had waited all night to cheer the cavalcade from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey and waited more hours for the return after the long ceremony, it was the greatest show and I don’t think there were many who missed watching it. This was the beginning of television being a “must”, and there were many other occasions which now are taken for granted but in those days we were not quite so sophisticated and enjoyed this media as there was not too much of it, and what there was, was very good.

I rejoined the Red Cross and found things very changed after the time before the war when I had first joined, and learned to drive an old 1914 Ambulance which was a noisy monster. The training was just the same again, one meeting a week when we learned the art of nursing, the intricate art of bandaging, First Aid with its many ways of treating the sick or injured which to my mind always finished up with the same, “do little or nothing”. However one learnt quite a lot about useful everyday things such as “don’t prick a blister after a burn”, don’t give anything to anybody before an operation; the three quarter prone position for vomiting when lying down, this was very useful as one of our many duties in hospital was to sit with a patient after an operation until they “came round”. I got over the training very quickly as I had done it once before, and then I took an instructors course to become a Cadet Officer. I found this most interesting teaching children who were Cadets a certain amount of biology which helped them to understand the human body and it was amazing how many took up nursing as a career. Once when I was visiting my husband in Guy’s hospital in London a nurse came up and said “you don't remember me do you?” and I must admit I didn’t. She, of course had grown up and was now a staff nurse, another one I met while out in Kenya in a hospital where I went to have a jab for yellow fever. They both said after joining the cadets they had decided to become nurses. These encounters I found very satisfying.

So what with one thing and another, tennis, golf, swimming, visits to London for the theatre or meeting old friends and walking the dog which we had now acquired, and supporting the cricket team life passed so quickly I found the fifties very happy years, we managed quite a few winter holidays in Switzerland, and some lovely summer holidays spent on the beach in Sussex, in something not much more than a beach hut with a converted tram, where we went every summer for a couple of weeks. Here it was back to nature, for there was no water or electricity laid on, but calor gas was there and the sea to wash in. Many times we were left there without a car so that meant long walks to collect the shopping from the nearest stores, and I forgot to mention the loo was down the garden!

Ruby Bullock

Summer Edition 2010

Ruby’s Memoirs