Bustling street with those in traditional dress, military uniforms, and French fashions of the 1940s


Considering the fact that most of the 12th General Hospital Unit had never ventured far from home, the staff took advantage of exploring the locales where they were stationed. Personnel while based in the seaside resort of Ain-el-Turck often went into the nearby town of Oran, heavily influenced by Arab, French, and Spanish traditions, and took day trips to places like Tunis, Algiers, Gibraltar, Bizerte, Trimcen, Mostaganem, and Sidi-bel-Abbès. Many members of the 12th General Hospital Unit visited the ruins of Pompeii during their sojourn in Naples and went on excursions to Arrezzo, Tivoli, Civitavecchi, and the Alban Hills when they were deployed to the northern outskirts of Rome. While stationed near Rome, it was possible to obtain a pass to head into the city between the hours of 6:30 and 10:30 PM to see the attractions and attend cultural events. Michael Mason recounted “We were children in an ancient world, filled with the innocence engendered by victory and a feeling of innate superiority, and we gazed with wonder at the relics of ancient Rome, little realizing that in the eyes of her citizens we were simply the counterparts of those hordes which had ravaged Rome throughout history.” During their extended personal leave time, 12th General Hospital Unit members traveled to destinations in other countries in Europe on Army sponsored trips and on their own, broadening their understanding of the world.