The Laindon Ambulance Service

By Chris Wood

Though the Second World War and the Blitz people coped without the NHS and an emergency ambulance service?

Laindon was covered by St Andrews Hospital in Billericay for emergencies. They had an ambulance station there housing St John ambulances. (At the outbreak of war a local doctor gave up his Rolls Royce car which was chopped about and turned into an emergency ambulance!)

My mother, then miss Ena Whitting, was one of the new breed of girls who volunteered to “do their bit”. Being able to drive, and a member of the St John brigade, she soon became an ambulance driver. Laindon was part of her patch.

One night during the blitz the air raid sirens sounded as usual. As others ran to the shelters, mum went out and stood in Timberlog Lane waiting for Mr Jones (her senior officer) to give her a lift to Billericay. Off they went through what were then little more than country lanes. Pitch dark, no lights, anti aircraft guns firing as the bombers followed the route of the Thames.

Crash. A bomb landed next to the road. The car was blown through the hedge ending up on its roof in a field.

Anyone hurt? No! Out through the windscreen, stop the next vehicle, get a lift to the Ambulance station and report for duty!

Make a fuss? You must be joking: there is a war on you know.

This page was added by Chris Wood on 07/04/2011.
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