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Margaret Wilson: Flying Nightingale, 95, seeks fellow nurse’s household

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Margaret Wilson

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Former Flying Nightingale, Margaret Wilson, hopes to trace down the household of a fellow nurse who died within the battle

One of many final residing air ambulance nurses to have served throughout World Battle Two is searching for assist with monitoring down a former colleague’s household.

Margaret Wilson, 95, was one among 95 nurses who risked their lives transporting almost 100,000 wounded troopers to British hospitals.

Often called the Flying Nightingales, the nurses went unrecognised till 2008.

Mrs Wilson says she hopes to contact the household of Margaret Walsh, one among two nurses who died in motion.

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Air Ambulance Nurses

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Flying Nightingales had been civilian volunteers who risked their lives

The nurses had been despatched into mainland Europe from three bases in England from 1944. As a result of their outbound planes had been carrying ammunition provides for the forces, they had been unable to make use of the Pink Cross emblem to guard them from assault.

Though the nurses got parachutes, they had been instructed they weren’t allowed to make use of them if the airplane was shot down on its return from Europe.

As an alternative, they’d to stick with the wounded troopers and be readily available to offer medical assist ought to anybody survive the crash.

In 2015, the BBC tracked down Lilian West who believed she was the final residing Flying Nightingale.

However, following the article, London-born Mrs Wilson, who now lives in Perth, Australia, got here ahead.

She stated had by no means been on an plane earlier than she utilized to hitch the Girls’s Auxiliary Air Drive (WAAF).

“The response I might have now can be, ‘Hey, no approach. I am not going up there’,” she stated. “Nevertheless it’s wonderful the form of belongings you do throughout a struggle.”

Mrs Wilson was stationed at Down Ampney, in Gloucestershire, and shared a hut with one other nurse – Margaret Walsh, whose airplane went down over the Channel in April 1945.

Miss Walsh, 33, from Hove, Sussex, was misplaced together with the crew.

It’s believed she was the daughter of Main Patrick Walsh and Mary Margaret Walsh

“Margaret used to learn playing cards and we used to take the mickey a bit of bit,” stated Mrs Wilson.

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Air Ambulance Nurses

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The nurses had been instructed they have to go down with their planes in case they might deal with any crash survivors

“In the future I got here again from my flight into the hut and I noticed she was upset. She was because of exit and she or he had clearly seen one thing on the playing cards.

“I stated, ‘In case you are apprehensive, I will take your home on the airplane. No drawback. I am all dressed to go.’ However Margaret would not let me.

“I believe the center of the following day, we had been instructed that the airplane was misplaced over the Channel. Margaret’s physique was by no means discovered.

“The incident nonetheless lives with me so clearly and it is one among my huge sorrows I used to be by no means capable of contact her household and discuss to them about her. I can nonetheless see her face – I can nonetheless bear in mind her.”

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Air Ambulance Nurses

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Every airplane had one nurse treating as much as 20 wounded troopers

Mrs Wilson made dozens of journeys throughout the Channel between 1944 and 1945, transporting wounded troopers and freed prisoners of struggle in RAF Dakota planes to British hospitals.

“Every airplane had just one nurse to take care of between 10 and 20 very badly wounded troopers,” she stated.

“Some had misplaced legs and arms, some had been blind and had accidents. It was so unhappy. They had been principally younger boys, about the identical age as me, 20 or 21 years outdated.”

One in all her final flights was on eight Could. “We had been midway house when the pilot referred to as out, “Hey boys! The struggle is over!” Nicely, I’ve by no means been kissed by so many males in my life,” she stated.

“We had been all crying and laughing at the excellent news. That was the happiest flight of all.”

She left the air power in 1945 and bought married. Nevertheless, she by no means talked about her nursing profession to her associates or household.

“My very own sons did not know till about 20 years in the past,” she stated.

“My Australian associates had been fuming after they came upon in regards to the award – I had by no means instructed them about what I did.

“I suppose it is a generational factor. Personally, I do not suppose there was something courageous about it. We had been simply doing a job. We did not count on any recognition.”

The nurses’ bravery was largely forgotten till 2008 after they had been lastly honoured for his or her bravery.

Mrs Wilson, who emigrated in 1968, was introduced with a statue of Florence Nightingale and a letter signed by the Duchess of Cornwall at a ceremony in Australia.

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Margaret Wilson

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Margaret Wilson, pictured through the time she served

She was additionally invited to a grand tea at a museum run by the Royal Australian Air Drive the place she was allowed to go inside an outdated Dakota.

“It introduced again so many reminiscences,” she stated.

“I’m ashamed to say I shed a couple of tears.”

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