Oran, Algeria ("Goat Hill")

Recollections of the 51st Evacuation Hospital in World War II

by E. T. Rulison, Jr., M.D., F.A.C.S.


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Oran, Algeria ("Goat Hill"): April – May 1944

 

Although the officers and enlisted men referred to our bivouac, or staging area outside of Oran, as "Goat Hill", we were actually camping in a large vineyard.

The 51st nurses were housed on the other side of Oran at Ain el Turk, a fine beach resort, which meant a long truck ride over and back in the evenings to visit and enjoy their Officers’ Club.

 

 

Oran in wartime was an exotic multinational, multi-cultural city with always new and interesting experiences for the sightseer.

 

 

In May, during our noon meal, we looked up into a clear, blue sky to see what looked like snow falling.

It was a locust plague descending on the vineyard, a horde of 4 inch "eating machines" that stripped the countryside of every green, growing thing in the next few days.

 

 

The first week of June 1944, a hospital ship ferried the entire 51st Evac. Hospital across the Mediterranean to Naples, Italy. As we entered Naples harbor, with Mt. Vesuvius still belching smoke from a recent eruption, the first news we received was that Rome had been liberated that day.
 

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© Copyright 2005, E. T. Rulison, Jr., M.D., F.A.C.S., All rights reserved.