BARBARA (LINCOLN) ASHBAUGH’S PHOTOGRAPHS AND MEMOIRS
Barbara (Lincoln) Ashbaugh served as an American Red Cross psychiatric social worker in the 25th General Hospital. She kept a diary of her experiences and took many photographs. In 1994 Ms. Ashbaugh offered to the Winkler Center her photographs and a memoir. Many of the images in this exhibit are hers.
Her memoir presents a very personal account of the 25th, starting with her opening sentence: “Seeds of discontent were sown in my life; so I decided to go into the service with the American Red Cross in World War II as a psychiatric social worker.”
The 25th treated all wounded personnel, Allied and German. Ms. Ashbaugh’s reaction to the wounded Germans was likely typical of her colleagues: “I was struck by the ages of the German prisoners on our wards, for most were young boys in their teens and they looked like our men.” (page 27)
Fear was ever present. During the Battle of the Bulge, she writes: “So ended 1944 in an atmosphere of excitement, dread, fear, uncertainty, real concern because of the Battle of the Bulge…that we might be defeated…I noted tanks going by in the wrong direction. Maybe they are lost, I thought. But when I hurried back to the hospital, I learned that we were indeed retreating.” (pages 44 and 45)
But humor and acts of kindness sustained Ms. Ashbaugh and her friends. In a field beside the tent hospital in Lison, France, resided a herd of cattle. She relates a close encounter: “One cow disturbed my sleep in the middle of the night when she stumbled over the tent ropes outside, but next to my bed. I awoke with a start…and heard a MIGHTY MOO as she stumbled off into the dark.” (page 30)