Alberta A. Bowes
COOPERSTOWN — Alberta Anna Bowes, a longtime resident of the village of Cooperstown, retired Director of Nursing at the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital and proud veteran of World War II, died Monday afternoon, June 16, 2014, at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown. She was 91.
Born July 21, 1922, at Brady Maternity Hospital in Albany, she was the daughter of Thomas C. and Margaret (Dilts) Bowes. At the age of 6 months, Alberta and her family moved from Albany to Oneonta.
She attended St. Mary’s Catholic School in Oneonta and graduated from Oneonta High School with the Class of 1938. In 1939, she entered St. Joseph’s Hospital College of Nursing in Syracuse, graduating in May of 1943. In September of that same year she became licensed in New York state as a Registered Nurse and worked as a staff nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Then from January until October of 1944, she worked as a staff nurse at A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital in Oneonta.
On Oct. 2, 1944, Alberta entered into active duty with the United States Army as a Second Lieutenant and served her country during World War II as a general duty nurse in the Army Nurse Corps 25th Hospital Train. Assigned to the European Theater of Operations in December 1944, she shipped out to Cherbourg, France, from Liverpool, England, in January 1945. She was assigned to Hospital Train No. 19 which carried wounded from battle areas in France to hospital ships and rehabilitation centers in southern France. She also traveled throughout Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands, treating over 320 patients which included GIs, POWs, repatriated Allied Military personnel, as well as enemy POWs and children released from labor camps.
The week after the concentration camp at Dachau was liberated, her unit visited the camp and treated survivors. While there she saw the ovens (some of which contained half cremated remains), the gas chambers and the laboratories where human experiments were carried out.