Jack Netherstreet

Call-up papers

Jack Netherstreet talks about joining the Navy.

The Medical Ward

Jack Netherstreet recalls serving on a medical ward at Hasslar Hospital.

The sickbay

Jack Netherstreet talks about serving in a sickbay.

Wartime memories of life in the sick berth branch of the Navy.

Call-up papers from the Army

Born in 1923 Jack was a young man at the outbreak of war. After the commencement of the Blitz in 1940, Jack and his twin brother Spencer were evacuated with their place of work from Romford to Reading. From the commencement of hostilities Jack was determined to join the sick berth branch of the Royal Navy but faced trouble once his call-up papers arrived.

‘I’d got my call-up papers from the Army, this provoked a lot of trouble...I went down to the recruiting office and I said, ‘Look’, I said, ‘I volunteered for the Navy, why have you accepted me for the Army?’. ‘Oh’, he said, ‘Just a minute, sir’, and out came this very fine chap  dressed on all gold braid and god knows what and he said to me...‘Sick berth branch, wasn’t it?’. I said, ‘Yes’. He said, ‘We’re very short of sick berth branch men’. ‘Anyway’, he said, ‘I’ve just been in and the army doesn’t want you anymore’ [and] tore the papers up. So a couple of months later I found myself at HMS Glendower which is near Pwllheli and that’s where we did our six weeks basic training.’

'Dying before our very eyes'

Jack received further training at Haslar Hospital and was later posted back to the same hospital. During this time the hospital received casualties from both the Battle of Dieppe and D-Day. Jack recalls how the service at the hospital developed between the two events.  

‘Now for Dieppe this was an appalling job and we lost thirty-five men on the operating table. They were literally dying before our very eyes, go and have a cup of  tea and when you came back two or three missing. It was shocking, the appalling statistic associated with the deaths. We had nine theatres going in the cellars and we had officers that didn’t even know they were supposed to be on duty and one appeared in his pyjamas said, ‘What’s happening?’. Dieppe. And when we came to D-Day we lost one person in the first twenty-four hours, the organisation and the way they ran it was simply marvellous.’

'What a voyage'

Towards the end of the war Jack was posted abroad on a landing craft to southeast Asia. On his return to England Jack travelled on the Belgian ferry Prince Leopold. ’What a lovely voyage that was. Oh, it was so different to a landing craft...I had a berth in the sickbay which had a luxury operating theatre [and] luxury bunks.’ 


Interview with Jack Netherstreet
Interview with Jack Netherstreet (241k)
To read the full transcript of Jack's interview please press the above link.

Call-up papers
Call-up papers (76k)
Transcript of video clip with Jack Netherstreet.

The Medical Ward
The Medical Ward (86k)
Transcript of video clip with Jack Netherstreet.

The sickbay
The sickbay (85k)
Transcript of video clip with Jack Netherstreet.

This page was added by Malin Lundin on 03/02/2012.