This blog is dedicated to encouraging people to make quilts and laundry bags to send to Aussie service men and women currently serving overseas and to express our gratitude for their service. We care about the people - not the politics or the mission.
Our quilts are not works of art, but works of the heart.
We have a guest author tonight. Sophie was the first to send me a family story - this one about her Mother's service and before you ask me, Sophie assures me that the spelling of Lieutentant is correct. You are going to love this story! ..... SECOND LIEUTENTANT
My mother, Adeline Maffey was born in
1920 in Kansas, USA, and did her nurses training there. Then in 1943, she, like
thousands of others, decided to join the US Army Nurse Corps. Her family was
not too pleased about this!
She was enlisted from 9 March 1943 to
1945. Her qualifications as a registered nurse, pre-enlistment, entitled her to the rank of Second Lieutentant.
She told us one story about her basic
training, in the US, where all the nurses were taught to throw live hand
grenades. And, never being a sportswoman, her ability to throw anything where
it was supposed to go, was seriously lacking. Needless to say, there was a
certain laundry block on the base that got a bit of a rearranging.
And Second Lieutentant Maffey was never allowed near a grenade again!!
She traveled by ship to Oran, Algeria where she spent the first part of her
tour of duty. She nursed allied troops as well as POW’s. Whilst in Oran, she
and a buddy decided they wanted to go across to Rome to see the Pope, as they
were Roman Catholic girls. And go to the opera… why not?! So with the help of
the base Padre, they went to Rome! AWOL, technically, and by a convoluted
route, they got there. Saw Pope Pius and went to the opera. Bliss!
Now the trip back was a little less a
straight forward… One leg of the trip consisted of the two girls in a very
small aircraft with a non-English speaking Russian pilot. Then change into a
DC3 for the rest of the trip back to Oran. But they discovered when they
got to the DC3, the aircraft was also going to be carrying generals and other
high ranking officers!! Not good for two AWOL Army nurses…. But they managed to
get on board unseen by them and hide themselves amongst the cargo. When they
arrived back at Oran, the Padre was at the airfield to pick the girls up. He
was horrified to see all the higher ranks leave the aircraft and thought for
sure the girls had been found out. But no…..they hadn't been. When everyone
else had disembarked, the girls snuck out of the aircraft into the Jeep with
the Padre and made it back to base safe and sound.
She went from Oran to Italy for the
rest of the war. I can’t remember where exactly.
She was awarded the US World War II
Victory Medal and the European-African Middle Eastern Campaign set.
I proudly wore the medals this year for her, on the LEFT
side. You see, US medals are worn on that side. (Figuring that out was a saga
My mother died this year, on the 27th April. She would have been 95 this year.
She sadly, had dementia so could not fill in any of the blanks for us. She did not talk
much about the day-to-day part of her job but liked to tell us stories like the
She had a scrap book of her time in the
Army. I remember it containing POW insignias, poems and letters written
by all of her patients, maps, newspaper cuttings. I do not know what happened
to the scrapbook, only that she no longer has it.
What a loss to us all!
What an awesome story. Thanks for sharing Sophie!
Please don't be shy. If you enjoyed reading this story by Sophie please think about sharing your story too.
Till next time...............keep spreading the word and happy stitching!