Sepia photo of 2 Red Cross Nurses and WW2 warden

WW2 Tower House Memories


My late mother, Miss Janet Short, was a VAD Red Cross nurse in WW2.  She worked for Stanley Sutton at his photographic studio in the Canal.  In the evenings, after a day’s work, she attended lectures at various places in Salisbury.  She started work at the Salisbury General Infirmary, again in the evenings, and at weekends.  Eventually she went nursing full time and worked at Tower House.


The patients at Tower House were local people, old people who had been evacuated from a London hospital and servicemen.  If a serviceman needed to have an operation, he would be sent up to the American Hospital at Odstock and would be returned to Tower House for post-operative nursing.  The men used to tell the nurses about the food at Odstock.  There was no rationing.  They also told about the strange combination of food provided eg kippers served with jam for breakfast.


When on night duty the nurses were moved to what had been the mortuary of the workhouse to sleep.  It was regarded as being far enough away from other buildings to enable them to sleep during the day.


The food served for the nurses left a lot to be desired at times.  The nurses had to attend in the dining hall for all meals.  My mother didn’t like curry and one of the meals was curried egg.  Although the eggs were cooked separately from the sauce, as my mother didn’t want the curry sauce she was not allowed to have the egg.  She had to sit there at the table while everybody else ate.  As she hadn’t eaten the first course she was also not allowed to have dessert.


The photo I have of my mother in her Red Cross uniform ( on the left) also shows Stanley Sutton and a friend of Mum’s who also worked at the studio, Miss Kilford.  I don’t know what her Christian name was as the girls who worked for Mr Sutton called each other by their surnames.


Miss Sue Noyce


Sepia photo of 2 Red Cross Nurses and WW2 warden

Miss Janet Short (left), Stanley Sutton & Miss Kilford during WW2

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