Calling Mother Hen

FALKLANDS 40

Ellie Evans sat down with veteran nursing officer Nicci Pugh to discuss the HMHS Uganda, the liner serving honourably during the Falklands conflict

NICCI PUGH IN THE ROYAL NAVAL HOSPITAL GIBRALTAR IN NOVEMBER 1983, WEARING THE SOUTH ATLANTIC MEDAL RIBBON WITH ROSETTE THAT DENOTES TIME SPENT WITHIN THE COMBAT ZONE RIGHT: THE ‘UGANDA’ ENTERS NO.2 DRY DOCK IN GIBRALTAR ON APRIL 16, 1982, HAVING BEEN REQUISITIONED BY THE MOD SIX DAYS EARLIER
ALL IMAGES VIA NICCI PUGH UNLESS NOTED

"On a bright and sunny morning, April 19, 1982, Her Majesty’s Hospital Ship Uganda left No.2 dry dock in Gibraltar at 0900hrs. Her white hull gleamed in the sun, her red crosses stood proudly declaring our aim and objectives: to help and heal injured servicemen irrespective of nationality, faith or creed.”

So said Nicci Pugh, recalling the beginning of a 113-day, 26,000-mile odyssey for the steamship, as events half a world away necessitated Uganda’s call of duty. She disgorged her passengers in Naples and returned to Gibraltar for conversion to a hospital ship. Given the callsign ‘Mother Hen’, the Uganda was, in short order, on her way south.

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