My book, They Did It for Honor: Stories of American WWII Veterans, contains five stories of female veterans who served during World War II. It’s not easy finding women veterans to interview as they were fewer in number than men. But the stories I’ve heard were all amazing. These gals were plucky to serve in ‘a man’s war’.
One of the oldest veterans I’ve ever interviewed was Mary ‘Polly’ Adelaide Woodhull Lipscomb of Fort Wayne. Polly as we called her lived in the same senior retirement home as my mother. Polly was 101-years-old at the time of our interview with two of her children present. But she was full of life and excitement at the idea of talking about her life in World War II as an Army nurse, which included being married in an old English church! The photo below shows Polly standing with her son and daughter, all of them holding items that were significant to Polly during her war years of service.
Here are excerpts from her story in my book, They Did It for Honor: Stories of American WWII Veterans:
Born in 1913 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Lipscomb earned a nursing degree from Methodist Hospital in Fort Wayne. She enlisted in the Army Nurse Corps in August 1942. With a desperate need for nurses, the Army quickly assigned First Lieutenant Lipscomb a place aboard the Queen Elizabeth, a former luxury ship converted for troops.
Taunton was located about 100 miles west of London. When Lipscomb arrived, the wards were already full of wounded British, Canadian and American soldiers.
Many patients suffered from what was termed ‘shell shock’. Since Lipscomb had worked with psychiatric patients in the States, she was assigned to that ward.
Some patients found comfort in doing simple crafts like weaving and often presented Lipscomb with their completed creations. “I treasured their gifts,” she said, including a placemat and brightly colored orange scarf.
What made including Polly’s story in my book a clincher was the photo album she had put together during her war years and allowed me to view.
I love looking at old photos, especially when I’ve met people in them.
Polly died in 2016. I wish she could have seen this book, but at least her family members will have it to remember her by. They plan to attend my book launch on Saturday, Nov 4, 2017, from 1-3pm at Allen Co Public Library in downtown Fort Wayne, meeting room C. The public is encouraged to meet and thank these veterans who fought in the biggest conflict the world has ever known.
If you know of a World War II veteran who would like to be interviewed, please let me know via the contact page at this website.