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09 March 2014

At 95, Army nurse recalls World War II - TimesRepublican.com | News, Sports, Jobs, Community info - Times Republican:



By ANDREW POTTER - Staff Writer (apotter@timesrepublican.com) , Times-Republican

It's been 70 years since her service, but Charlotte Appelgate can remember her work in World War II vividly.

Appelgate,
95, of Marshalltown, served as a U.S. Army nurse for three years
overseas, primarily at a hospital in Oxford, England.

Fresh out
of nursing school in Marshalltown, the nurse then known as Charlotte
Rowden, decided to enlist to serve her country when war broke out in
1941. It was a decision she doesn't regret to this day.


T-R PHOTO BY ANDREW POTTER
Charlotte Appelgate, 95, of Marshalltown, holds a picture from her time as an Army nurse. Appelgate served during World War II.
"It was a time when everyone wanted to do something," Appelgate said.

Appelgate
tended to "all kinds of injuries" during her time in the early 1940s
and seems to recall treating frozen feet the most. She was amazed that
many injured soldiers were sent back to the battlefield after being
treated.

"I think we were all sympathetic," Appelgate said. "We knew they would be there so long and may be sent back to the front line."

When the war ended in 1945 the nurses had a collective sigh of relief.

"Everyone was of course relieved and celebrated and celebrated and celebrated," Appelgate said.

She
arrived back in the states in 1945 - thanks to a ride across the ocean
aboard the Queen Mary. There she awaited her boyfriend, foot soldier
Eugene Appelgate's return from the war.

The couple was married in 1946 and went on to have four children, nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Eugene
passed away 10 years ago and Charlotte still lives in the home they
built in 1971 in central Marshalltown - the same town in which she was
born in 1918.

Both have penned their life stories to pass on to future generations.

"So that our children will some day want to read it," Appelgate said.

Neighbor
George Taylor, a World War II veteran himself, is in awe with what
Appelgate can recollect and communicate at the age of 95.

"I think it's amazing that she's got the memory to do it," Taylor said.

With seven decades passing since her service she admits "there's not many of us left."

She remains patriotic to her core, with a flag hanging in her front window.

"I support all them with all I can possibly do," Appelgate said.

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