Enid Chadwick

Walsingham in Wartime
Under the title IT CAN NOW BE TOLD Enid Chadwick revealed in 1945 what might have happened had the Germans invaded.
One afternoon in June [1945] the members of the Little Walsingham First Aid Point were formally dismissed. Perhaps some of us felt that the hours we had spent in attending lectures, regular meetings and practices at the Point, exercises with the Home Guard and Wardens, and exams, had been a waste of time. We little knew that in the dark hours of 1940 and 1941 we were recognised by the military authorities as an “advanced dressing station”. The Commandant for our area, who is a most excellent speaker and can make even anti-gas lectures inspiring, revealed some of the secrets which had been kept from us while we plodded on with our splints and triangular bandages – not to speak of the intricacies of roller bandaging. She told us that what was generally spoken of in those two years as the “possibility of invasion” was called by those in command the “imminent probability of invasion”. It was expected that the Germans would make a bridgehead of north-west Norfolk, landing parachutists in vast numbers, and blowing the bridge at Lynn so that they had a line running south from the Wash, as well as the north and east coasts. Our troops would not attempt to defend all this area; they would have their first line of defence along the road connecting Hunstanton, Lynn, Fakenham and Dereham, behind which all mobile units of First Aid and nursing would have to assemble. Thus Walsingham was planned to be evacuated and handed over to the enemy – indeed, it would have been in the very front line of attack. (One evening the command for these units to move south of the road actually came through; it was not an exercise.) The Home Guard only would be left to fight a delaying action, and the little village First Aid Points would be the sole means of rendering comfort to the wounded. That was why, we were told, we were suddenly plunged into a course of Home Nursing; and that was why our leaders were issued with hypodermic syringes, which must inevitably have been needed with numbers of wounded coming in and no doctors available. The military kept up-to-date records of all the Points and those who manned them. We were not needed, but we were no more “useless” than the guns which bristled threateningly along our beaches. link to Enid Chadwick's entry in the Index giving all references to her work in this website top of page