Mosman Voices - oral histories online

Beryl Daley.

Interviewed by Eve Klein on 15th April 2002

Eve Klein. So you were nursing, and how did you become involved with the American side of things.

Beryl Daley. Suddenly I had a letter from Australia House, and they were looking for escorts for a shipload of children. They’d finally succumbed to the demand for – of course, Australia, Canada, South Africa – all saying: ‘Let us take the children’ because London was being badly blitzed by this time.

I had this letter from Australia House, they were looking for people with the qualifications I had – nursing primarily, I suppose amongst them –for the Ambulance, and I was getting cables all this time from home. I’d get a cable one day, because our shipping was being sunk in the Atlantic, and I’d get a cable from home: ‘Catch the first ship’, and then the next day I’d get another one: ‘Stay where you are, it’s safer on the land than on the sea’ – you know, this kind of tripe. Australia House was looking for people with my qualifications, which I had by this time, and I had teaching experience too. They were looking for escorts just like me to bring this first shipment over. So we sailed in June 1940 in the Polish vessel The Batory had escaped from Gdynia Harbour in Poland and had dodged the Germans in the North Sea, and like everything else, any aircraft that came from Europe, any pregnant women that came from Europe England was just a mass of refugees. It was an exciting time.

For the full interview click here.