Joyce worked for NAAFI in Kure House

Author’s note. I have included some reminiscences from Joyce Blair of her time, in Kure, as NAAFI played an important part in a serviceman’s life. Those stationed in this part of the Korean War theatre will recall NAAFI as being in Kure House and just a short distance from the hospital.

I was working for NAAFI and at the age of thirty-nine was posted to Kure, Japan. This was in October 1953 and I served there until October 1955. Three other girls and I had offices in Kure House, and we did the administrative work to keep things flowing in Korea and Japan.

We lived at Hiro (just East of Kure) and our quarters were very comfortable and consisted of two large buildings in semi European style, one single story which was our lounge, bar and mess. The other was two stories high, where each girl had her own room and we were well looked after by Japanese house girls, who were known as ‘mamma sans’ (younger girls and boys working in shops and restaurants etc. were usually called, ‘girl san’ and ‘boy san’). Our two buildings were situated in a compound, within a large Commonwealth Camp. Next to our quarters were single story dwellings of Japanese design (and also in the compound) these housed our officers. A barbed wire fence surrounded the compound and a guard was posted on each gate. We could never quite make up our mind for the reason for the barbed wire, as we were in the centre of our own Commonwealth stalwarts?

Our duties permitted us to visit patients, on the wards, at the hospital (BCGH); this of course was on a friendly basis and to chat to them. I remember some of the men had dreadful injuries, including burns.

One patient I recall in particular was Lt Col John Turner, I think he was REME. He had his own transport and he took me to many interesting places, particularly Miya Jima and of course Hiroshima. We also went to the Hot Springs at Tamatsukuri, which was absolutely fascinating, where most of the men and women were bathing in the nude! Many of these places were often a long way from the Commonwealth Camps and we had to stay in Japanese hotels and that was an experience in itself. We went to Kobe once and a marvellous time was had in visiting Dogo Spa and Matsuyama. We went by boat to these places and were taken by an American friend who had a powerful motor yacht and a small party of us went.