" In those days, that was before we were married and I can remember the first case I ever went on was on Pavey Ark on Jack's Rake on Easter Sunday - Easter Sunday it was. I should have met you that night, and all dressed up to meet her, you know; I was standing at the Assembly Rooms corner and they said there'd been this accident so away we went up Dungeon Ghyll and when we got up there, we'd to go up on the Fell and we were dressed up, you know. So we went up on to Jack's Rake and they brought this young girl down. She hadn't fallen, it was a big lump of rock.
She was coming down on a rope down Jack's Rake and this big lump of rock hit her on the ankle and of course it broke it and one . . . . tib was going one way and the fib the other, both sticking through, just over the top of the boot they were and they fastened the climbing axe round her leg with a rope and we brought her down with - I don't know whether you knew old Dr. Quarmby? I don't suppose you would.
I. Yes, I've heard of him.
R. Have you? Well, he came up with us and there was about four of us in the ambulance - I was only a junior in those days - 1932 or something like that, wouldn't it? And the farmers helped us down and we had old hurricane lamps that the farmers had for their barns, you know - old Mr. Gregg. And it was black - it was about, oh, after midnight when we got her off there and they were holding us by the ankle you know and helping us down off one part and then on to another until we got off there and then coming down into Dungeon Ghyll and it was at the New Dungeon Ghyll before they altered the bar there you know it was a little wooden hut and they put her onto the counter there, the bar counter and old Dr. Quarmby was going to take the boot off and attend to her on there but couldn't get a knife sharp enough to cut her boot off.
I. How long ago would all this be?
R. 1932, wouldn't it Celia?
C. '32 or '33.
R. 1932 or '3.
I. So that's what, 47 years ago?
I. And was this at the very beginning of your Mountain Rescue days or did you start before that even?
R. Well, I used to go and help before I was in the Ambulance - I used to drive a wagon for my father in those days and my brother was already in the Ambulance and if he wasn't available, I would go. So we'd just leave our wagon anywhere in the road and away we'd go. The old chap used to play pop with us, didn't he, for leaving our wagon and going we got nothing for it, you know. And anyway, we brought this Miss Hill they called her - lived in one of the little houses up on Peggy Hill; she came from Manchester. And they couldn't get her boot off in the bar and old Dr. Quarmby chloroformed her and tried to take her boot off and nothing was doing so we put her in the Ambulance to take her to the Nursing Home at Bowness . . .
R. Lambrigg Nursing Home and just as we got her in the ambulance all the lights fused so we set off from Dungeon Ghyll to Lambrigg Nursing Home without a light and when we were just going into Windermere the police pulled us up for having no lights. So we stood - they were older cars then, it was an old Overland we had then. I don't know if you've ever heard of one, have you? The car.
I. I've heard of the Overland yes - was it British or ..?
R. Oh yes - it was... 18 miles an hour flat out it was. It was, really and the police had his flashlight. And so he stood on the running board and took us down to Lambrigg with his flashlight and then we left her there and . . . because we hadn't used to take them to Kendal hospital the same then in those days. If they wanted to go into a private Nursing Home . . .
I. And was there the medical staff available?
R. Well, they would get the doctors in, you see. Just the local doctors you see. There was no specialists in Kendal hospital, there was only the ordinary doctor that used to do the operating in those days.
C. It would be Dr. Olive (?) and Dr. Colin Buckley
R. Yes and Dr. Quarmby stopped.
I. We're talking about nearly fifty years ago, aren't we, which is quite a long time.
R. And the policeman came back with us on the running board to Windermere and then he says "You'll have to find your own way home" so we came back without a light. That was one of the cases. I know she was many weeks. And then there was the papers - I don't know, we'll have some cuttings of that, the papers was full of that for weeks. They used to come did the different daily papers to take photos of us and we used to go down to the park on the rocks there and we used to do mock acting there and out at White Moss as though we were far enough up in the rocks you know. We'd be just and so off the ground you know! They used to take these for the Daily Mail and Sketch, such as those. We have cuttings of those for a long while, haven't we?"
From the Ambleside Oral History Group archive