Brave Nurse Recalls Serving on Hebei Battlefield During WWII

June 18, 2015
Editor: Mable Wang
Wang Ruifen,  former nurse dedicated to the rescue and treatment of casualties in central Hebei during the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression. [File photo]

Wang Ruifen, a former nurse dedicated to the rescue and treatment of casualties in central Hebei during the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, has called upon the younger generations to never forget the past. 

Wang witnessed her parents being stabbed to death by imperial Japanese troops with her own eyes; she was once an assistant of famous Indian doctor Dwarkanath Kotnis and she rescued soldiers in concerted effort with international anti-fascist fighters; she was a care nurse for late marshal Xu Xiangqian and kept a personal friendship with him; she was also one of the first female soldiers who took off their army uniforms after the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949. Wang, an adamant veteran in the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, hopes that the younger generations today will remember the past and the national humiliation.

In spring 1941, the Japanese army stepped up their aggressive and suppressive actions in occupied areas of China after the end of the Hundred Regiments Offensive. In Gaoyang County, Baoding, of north China's Hebei Province, Wang saw the atrocities committed by the Japanese army at the age of only 15. "None of the villagers could move with machine guns directed at them and the Japanese soldiers began shooting those who did not tell them where the anti-Japanese fighters hid." Wang recalled, "I saw my parents curled up on the ground after being stabbed by the cruel Japanese militias. I was so scared that I even failed to cry." With the help of members of the underground Communist Party of China, Wang, together with dozens of girls from central Hebei, began their steps along the road to the war front with deep grief in their hearts.

When they reached the revolutionary base in western Hebei, they entered Bethune Military Medical College which was founded personally by noted Canadian doctor and anti-fascist Norman Bethune in September 1939. Wang studied medicine and fought hard against the Japanese aggression.

During one battle, Wang was wounded whilst rushing to rescue injured comrades. Later, after recovery, she was transferred to work in a field hospital affiliated to the Bethune Military Medical College and become an assistant of Kotnis. Home to hundreds of casualties, the hospital became one of the major air-raid targets of the Japanese army. In one battle, bombs carried by Japan's fighter planes razed the whole hospital. A bomb exploded beside Wang, covering her in soil. But the tough girl immediately engaged in the rescue efforts beside her fellow medical team.

In a short run of six months, Wang lived through more than 200 battles and rescued nearly 1,000 soldiers. At the end of 1943, she was sent to the headquarters of the Eighth Route Army and served as the health nurse for Xu Xiangqian, who was named one of China's "Ten Marshals" in 1955. In 1945, she was assigned to work in the department of health at the Anti-Japanese Military and Political University where she passed on her valuable nursing experiences to generations of beginners.

"Recently I have been watching reports on the veterans of WWII. So, I'd like to tell my own experiences to the younger generations and remind them about remembering the history."

(Source: Lanzhou Evening Post/Translated and edited by Women of China)

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