If you have been reading Rose of Anzio, you know that Tessa Graham, the heroine of the story, served as an army nurse for the U.S. 33rd Field Hospital during this fictional account of the Battle of Anzio. One of the true historical event which I had incorporated into the story was the February 10th bombing of the 33rd. The second piece of artwork that graphic artist Jeff Brown did for Book 3-Desire was an allegorical depiction of this bombing event. In the illustration, Tessa and Jesse Garland were in the middle of an argument, and had luckily stepped away from the hospital site when they barely missed being hit.
You can read more about the real account of the 33rd Field Hospital nurses’ experience here.
Below is an excerpt of this scene from Chapter 22 of Rose of Anzio Book 3 – Desire.
Even if she could think of the right words, she would not have the chance to tell him. Down from the sky came the skin-crawling sound of metal-on-metal brakes that she now knew well. It was the sound of a shell dropping. By reflex, her body tensed. She held her breath, waiting for the bombs to explode. Her mind could not register why bombs were dropping in their midst in broad daylight.
While she tried to process her thoughts, a thunderous explosion behind them shook the ground. The deafening sound blasted her ears. Chunks of shrapnel and pieces of debris flew in all directions. They turned around. A German anti-aircraft shell had blown up the ward from which they had just come. The tent was no more than sixty or seventy yards behind them.
“That’s us!” Tessa screamed. “That’s our hospital! That’s our hospital! They bombed our hospital!” She ran toward the ward which had now caught on fire. Jesse grabbed her wrist and pulled her back.
“We have to go help them. We’ve got to go help them.” Hysterical, she pointed to the disaster and tried to pull him that way with her.
“Come back here!” he shouted and pulled her to him. She resisted and tried to fling his hand off her arm. He grabbed her by the waist, threw her over his shoulder and ran in the opposite direction toward the underground medical supplies storage room.
Thinking of all the people still in the tent, she tried to wriggle herself off him. “Let me down!” She pushed on his shoulders and shouted. “Let go of me.” But he would not release her. Determined to free herself, she grabbed his shoulder to push again. A sticky wetness under her fingers made her pause. She held up her hand and gazed at her fingers. They were covered red in blood. A piece of shrapnel had hit Jesse and sliced the back of his shoulder. She stopped struggling and put her hand over his wound. The impact of what was happening hit her, and she didn’t know what else to do but to cling onto him. As he ran and carried her to safety, she watched the fire grow and the flames burn. She thought she heard voices crying and screaming for help, but she couldn’t be sure. So many people were running, screaming, and yelling. Sirens broke out everywhere. The noises all around were drowning her and the clouds of smoke in the air were smothering her. Her mind faded out.
Rose of Anzio – Desire is available on Amazon