Celia Packe's wartime experiences
Celia Dibblee (née Packe) was fond of poetry all her life, and she wrote some poetry herself. During World War II, Celia was working as a VAD. The Voluntary Aid Detachment was a voluntary organisation providing field nursing services in hospitals and other places. They were not officially nurses, since their training was rudimentary, but Celia tended to call herself a nurse. She said "Poetry was a marvellous escape from the GREYNESS of wartime Britain - and it was an escape from my own job as a nurse working in various military hospitals.
There are some more poems in Celia's own wartime memoirs.
Written at Shaftsbury, December 1943
*"Officers 1 & 2" was a female ward.
This is Celia Packe's VAD cape, black outside and red inside. She sewed on badges from the various soldiers that she nursed.
The Coming InvasionWritten at Shaftsbury, February 1944
This will be no gentle spring
Christened with April's tender showers.
Fiercely will Justice turn her back
On lovers, poets, lambs and flowers.
This will be a fearful spring
When retribution summons dread
Then, baptised with grief and tears
Will Europe bleed and count her dead.
Spring has brought, though eternity,
Fresh courage, hope, a time to pray.
Will crucifixion be her birth?
Who can say, oh who can say?
This was written three months before
the great invasion of Europe of D Day
Newspaper article about Shaftesbury Military Hospital - Nursing Times, July 21, 1945. Click on picture for large version.
© Jo Edkins 2013 - Return to Early Dibblee History index