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From a corner of the Salisbury Plain in Southwest England where the new Harvard-American Red Cross Hospital is just now beginning to take in its first patients, Gerald F. Houser, instructor in Preventive Medicine at the Medical School, has brought back a report of success in spite of difficulties.
In the current issue of the Alumni Bulletin, the first superintendent of the hospital and Assistant Superintendent at Massachusetts General Hospital tells of the troubles the volunteer group encountered in raising the prefabricated structure 3000 miles from its original home.
English Say "Great Show"
As a reward of thanks, the large numbers of visitors to the project, which was still unfinished when Houser left it more than a month ago, characterized it as a "great show," which is an English way of expressing the superlative. Such was the enthusiasm and appreciation of the group's English neighbors that overwhelming numbers of invitations to tea interfered with the building job.
But such pleasant obstacles were minor compared to those which began to confront the building gang after the prefabricated materials and equipment had made the perilous ocean trip in 30 shiploads and had been piled up on the 15-acre site on the unoccupied English landscape.
All was not smooth in the assembly of the first building, which Dr. Houser called "quite Darwinian, almost protozeau in its concept." But regardless of bad guesses on this side of the water, ingenuity prevailed.
Another draw back was the constant presence of chalk dust which permeated the camp in dry weather and overlaid it with "paste" when it was wet. Even towards the end-of the task, the surrounding area was scarred with white chalk marks which gave the workers considerable uneasiness since bombers had a prominent target, but the whiteness was finally plowed under.
Morale is high among the workers. Houser said, citing the example of two nurses who had gone through a 19 day ordeal in an open boat after their ship half been sunk, but who had completely recovered and were back at work in a couple of days.
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