A Nursing Memoir of the Falklands War

Bishopsteignton Probus Club was given a talk about the hospital ship Uganda used in the Falklands War by Nicci Pugh, one of forty Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nursing Service (QARNNS) nursing personnel selected on the basis of specific nursing qualifications and experience. In Nicci’s case, she had a commission as a Senior Nursing Officer, serving as a trauma operating theatre sister. She and the other female medics were the only military females serving in the combat zone and the naval nurses were the first Royal Naval female “junior ratings” in history to serve at sea. They joined a medical team totalling some 130.

The Government requisitioned SS Uganda from P & O specifically for the Falklands War between Britain and Argentina, after the latter had invaded the Falklands in 1982. The ship was converted to a medical ship in under a week, incorporating a three-table operating theatre, 20 bedded high dependency ward, Intensive Care Unit, some 400 beds overall and a helicopter landing pad. The latter was especially important because it allowed evacuation of patients directly from the battlefield and from other ships to the Uganda, thus speeding up the time from injury to surgery.

The Uganda dealt with 730 casualties, including more than fifty Argentinians, and undertook over five hundred surgical operations. Forty soldiers returned to the UK as amputees and many military personnel were seriously burnt on board the battle ships including Simon Weston who is one of the many patients helped by Nicci and her colleagues on board Her Majesty’s Hospital Ship Uganda.

The sixth edition of Nicci Pugh’s fascinating story of the role of the hospital ship Uganda in the Falklands War titled White Ship – Red Crosses has just been published by New Generation Publishing ISBN 978-1-78955-740-4. Copies at £12.99p can be purchased via the Amazon website.

Link to Amazon page selling the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/White-Ship-Red-Crosses-Falklands/dp/1789557402/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=ISBN+978-1-78955-740-4&qid=1573046696&sr=8-1

Photograph: Nicci Pugh is thanked by Probus Club member Andy Jebson.

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