Routines at sea 5 - RM Bandsmen on SS Uganda, 1982

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Jullia MasseyJulia Massey

Service: 1968 - 1996

Rate: Captain

Julia joined the QARNNS (Queen Alexandra Royal Naval Nursing Service) in 1968 and worked at Royal Naval Hospital Haslar, a number of medical facilities in Malta, RNH Plymouth, HMS Pembroke and RNH Hong Kong. In 1982, she was part of the nursing team embarked on SS Uganda for the Falklands War and during the Gulf War she was responsible for allocating nurses to RFA Argus. In 1994 she was involved with the Defence Cost Studies Report which led to the closure of the RN Hospitals, the establishment of tri-service training and the reduction of the QARNNS by nearly a half.


Julia recalls the vital role of RM Bandsmen on board SS Uganda during the Falklands.


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Extract Text (Duration 1.40)

And then there were probably about ten male nurses, ratings, ‘cause still at that time of the Falklands QARNNS was a service for females only, still in... in '82. We also had Royal Marine Bandsmen onboard whose war role is that of stretcher-bearers and they were wonderful. They had a very difficult job because all the stretchers were just carry canvases and they had to get the patients out of the helicopters, down this rather steep ramp into the triage area where we had beds set up with stretchers on top. Once the patients had been assessed, and unless they were walking obviously, the Marines then had to carry them either to us, to the intensive care ward or down into the dormitories which was a very difficult exercise, not much space getting them down below. They had to carry all the patients from the wards to the x-ray department, from the wards to theatre and... and obviously back again. They... we also taught the Marines on the way south some basic nursing duties, washing patients, taking temperatures and this sort of thing, and they were absolutely wonderful, marvellous.