Chapter 7: Corporal Fletcher gets a visitor
It was now the end of June and Fletch had been in Ward B3 of the Cambridge Military Hospital in Aldershot for three weeks now. The army doctors and surgeons had done a wonderful job repairing his damaged right leg, and by all the odds had managed to save it.
He was now preparing for the plastic surgeon Major Wilson DSO MD, to carry out more skin grafts on his leg before the Royal Army Nursing Corps Physiotherapy Department could take over to teach him to walk properly on his injured leg once again.
Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps Depot had been built on the sight of the old Aldershot Royal Pavilion in 1967 and house 250 nurses, who worked and trained at the Cambridge Military Hospital on a shift system every day and night, and Fletch couldn’t thank the nurses enough for the excellent job they had done taking care of him whilst he underwent hours of surgery at the hospital to save his leg.
By this time Fletch was getting really board having to lay in a hospital bed with nothing to do but read book and magazines all day long, but he looked forward to the hospital visiting hour which was between 1500 hrs and 1600hrs during the daytime and 1900hrs until 2000hrs in the evening.
Unfortunately his parents Bill and Eva Fletcher whose home was in Winchester, couldn’t manage to get up to see their son on a regular basis due to the distance they had to travel from their home town, and Fetcher’s mother had only just returned home after spending two weeks by his bedside on his return from Oman due to worrying about the major surgery on his leg, although the hospital army Chaplin who was a member of 2 Para Brigade stationed in Aldershot, came to visit him every day on his regular hospital rounds, so at least he could hold a good conversation with him as he was quite conversant with the active service roll which Fletch had played during the Mirbat War in Dhofar Oman.
Still can’t complain thought Fletch, as he laid on the top of his bed reading the local newspaper, which had just been delivered by one of the Salvation Army helpers who came around everyday selling chocolate, sweets, magazines, and the daily newspapers to all the hospital wards.
A very attractive young blond lady in her early twenties turned up at the hospital reception desk at 1500hrs that very afternoon, just as the senior staff nurse opened the main hospital doors to allow all the visitors access to the wards, making enquiries as to which ward Corporal Fletcher was staying in.
The receptionist gave her the directions she required and pointed out to her the painted white line which she had to follow that would take her directly to the ward she required. “Excuse me are you by any chance Corporal Fletcher Royal Military Police, who my husband calls Fletch,” she said softly as she stood by Fletch’s bedside.
Fletch just couldn’t believe his luck as he slowly peered above the top of his newspaper at the sound of this lovely young woman’s voice who was now looking directly at him with dreamy deep blue eyes, and in his own words she had, ‘A BODY TO DIE FOR!’
“Yep that’s me the one and only Fletch, the best looking thing since sliced bread ! , what can I do for a pretty lady like yourself ?,” Commented Fletcher jokingly.
“Actually it’s more like what I can do for you, but please don’t misunderstand me, my name is Julie Hill and I’m Sergeant Hills wife, your Red Troop company Sergeant who is still out in Oman at the moment.” Replied Julie. “Oh! really sorry Mrs Hill, you took me a little by surprise as I wasn’t expecting any visitors today, but it’s very nice of you to take the time to come and visit me anyway,” said Fletch.
“I wanted to thank you personally for saving my husband’s life Corporal Fletcher, and Bill, my husband asked me if I would visit you to see if there’s anything else we may be able to help you with whilst your laid up in hospital.”
“Please call me Fletch, It sounds so formal being called Corporal Fletcher Julie. Hope you don’t mind me calling you Julie, but it seems like I’ve known you for years, you being married to my best pal Bomber an all”. Explained Fletch.
“That’s fine I don’t mind at all, now in the meantime is there anything I can get for you, do you require any more reading material or something from the local shops, have you enough writing paper and envelopes, If you like Ill post the letter you’ve written, the one on top of your bedside table,” she said in her eagerness to help.
“Please don’t worry about me Julie,” said Fletch. “Someone comes around every day with new reading material, and I usually ask the nurses if I require any pens or paper to write letters home, but I would be grateful if you could post the letter to my parents for me please, as the nurse who collects the mail for me doesn’t come on duty until after 1900hrs, so unfortunately my letters don’t get posted until the morning.”
“Would you like to pull up that chair near my bedside table Julie, it’s better than standing up, and I can have a conversation with you much better if I don’t have to keep looking up at you,” remarked Fletch. Visiting hour seemed to fly by whilst Fletch and Bomber Hills wife Julie were deeply in conversation, just talking about anything from Fletchers time out in Oman to Julies shopping spree at the local Aldershot market.
Eventually the hospital bell rang out for the end of the visiting hour, and Julie stood up to leave. “Take care and I hope all goes well for your final operation Fletch, are you sure now there nothing I can do to help,?” Said Julie
“Only one thing,” cried out Fletch as Julie headed for the hospital exit. “What’s that.?” Remarked Julie. “Come and visit me again soon,” cried out Fletch in desperation.