About to leave for Iwakuni, early '52


Barbara Ann Probyn-Smith, Lt. RAANC

Anzac Day, 1954


North Korean Nurse
MASH Nurse

When I was young, I went to war, the Korean War, and from that brutal war with its sadness and laughter, I remember so many of you and the times we shared there -- and I shall continue to remember you all the days of my life.

A little snowy haired girl from Southport, Qld., I'd always wanted to be an Army Nurse. My altruism, however, was a bit sus. as I had seen the American war movie with Claudette Colbert and Veronica Lake as US Army Nurses soothing, and smoothing, the brows of some great looking chaps.

I did my 4 year course -- Nursing Training -- at the Brisbane General Hospital, and when the Korean War started I did extra training in intensive surgical care, OP, Theatre Work, and advanced Casualty and Aid care. I did Tropical Med. training at our affiliated Cairns Base Hosp. (This stood me in good stead when later I served in Malaya at that war.)

In 1951 I joined the ARA, RAANC (Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps), and in 1952 and 1953 served in Japan and Korea at our various Me. Hosps. and Units during the Korean War. And I nursed a lot of you fellers.

In Kure, Japan, early 1952

We had in Japan and Korea a large and busy Commonwealth Mil. Gen. Hosp., at Kure, Japan; a CDS at Ebisu - Tokyo, Japan; a CCS, the Z Unit - a Casualty Clearing Station for early treatment and evacuation to Japan - which we shared with the RAAF. This Hosp. was in Seoul, Korea.

Also in Korea was the 25 FDS, a Canadian raised First Field Dressing Station (like a US MASH) - where we worked. We also worked in Med. Evac. on the Ambulances and Trains.

In Japan, I also worked at the huge US Mil Gen Hosp. 'Tokyo Army' next to Gen. MacArthur's old GHQ. I worked in the US and UN section there, in paraplegic surgical wards - a lot of badly wounded airmen and other Mil. personnel from all Forces were there. And I worked in the Intensive Care wards for the grossly wounded - mainly patients with massive head and chest wounds, and those with multiple amputations.

And we worked with Medical people from many countries, sometimes little common language between us, but we managed very well.

We nursed and took care of Commonwealth and UN sick and wounded from all Services, from all Mil. Forces, even some POWs.

British Commonwealth Military General Hospital2

After 48 hours continuous duty

Often we would tire to exhaustion point. Some terrible times we had, emotional, frustrated and angry when our patients would die. But there were always other times, wonderful times, full of fun and laughter - and care.

Yes, I well remember you all - the brave civilians, those very special men, women and the children and babes of that war-torn country, and the truly great and very special men and women of the Military Forces from all Nations -

Our Treasure ! - All the months of treatment we did with great success !


Barbara Ann Probyn-Smith (Babs)

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