There were many servicemen in the armed forces in the Second World War who had also served in the Great War a generation before. A man in his twenties in World War I would only be in his forties by the time of the next war. These men might not have been fit enough for front line infantry duty, but they filled a wide range of support duties and in less physically demanding roles such as aboard ships and on air and army bases. This means that paperwork for the same man can be found spanning the two conflicts and today we have a pair of documents to a sailor, George Hart, who served as a sick bay attendant on HMS Liverpool in World War I. A sick bay attendant was in effect a male nurse who support the surgeons aboard a ship who were officers. They still needed to be well trained and the first item in this grouping is a red notebook he kept as both a diary and a place to jot down notes about his profession:
This page from the diary is particularly interesting describing seeing a warship, the Inflexible, that had been damaged by mines in the Dardanelles:
The book also has details of his dispensing duties:
The second document dates from a generation later and by now our sick bay attendant has been promoted to a temporary Warrant Wardmaster, this document dating from March 1944:
This was a very senior position and would have represented the pinnacle of a naval career. These documents showing both ends of a long and successful career in naval medicine.
Not necessarily in their 40’s. I have two sets of WW1 enlistment documents for my Grandfather, with two different birth years…the first one was rejected because he was only 15, apparently they didn’t have it to compare the second one to at the next enlistment point 😉 He wouldn’t have been 40 in 1939.