The Forgotten Service: Auxiliary Ambulance Station 39

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This work provides a picture of the thousands of people, from a huge variety of backgrounds, who worked for very little pay doing a tough and difficult job. It illustrates in documents, poems and photographs what daily life was like for the London Auxiliary Ambulance Service as they tried to help those injured in the London raids of 1940-41, and then again with the doodlebugs and rockets of 1944 and 1945. At the core of the narrative lies the memories of Station Officer May Greenup who served at Station 39 in Weymouth Mews for five and a half years. The structure of the service is illustrated by a detailed timetable May produced to instruct and inform on the minute by minute running of her station. Integral to the text are many photographs taken by May and her colleagues. These reflect not the hour by hour horror of their duties but the humour they searched for amidst the devastation. The book also unmasks the much lauded war heroine Josephine Butler, who worked at the station for two years between 1940 and 1942. It was claimed that she had been a spy during the war and had been dropped behind enemy lines in France, but this work provides a detailed look at the elaborate web of deceit that she weaved. Butler was actually in Holloway prison in 1944 for theft.