Testimony Of Diana Hamilton Bowron

The testimony of Diana Hamilton Bowron was taken at 2:05 p.m., on March 24, 1964, at Parkland Memorial Hospital, Dallas, Tex., by Mr. Arlen Specter, assistant counsel of the President's Commission.

Mr. SPECTER - May the record show that Diana Bowron is present following a verbal request that she appear here to have her deposition taken. During the course of deposition proceedings on March 20 and March 21, it came to my attention that Miss Bowron would have information of value to the Commission, and authorization was provided through the General Counsel, J. Lee Rankin, for her deposition to be taken.
Miss Bowron, the President's Commission is investigating the assassination of President Kennedy and is interested in certain facts relating to his treatment and presence at Parkland Memorial Hospital, and we have asked you to appear here to testify concerning your knowledge of his presence here.
Now, I have shown you,. have I not, the Executive order appointing the Presidential Commission and the resolution authorizing the taking of testimony at depositions by Commission staff members, have I not?
Miss BOWRON - Yes.
Mr. SPECTER - And are you willing to have your deposition taken today without 3 days' written notice, as we ordinarily provide?
Miss BOWRON - Yes.
Mr. SPECTER - So, are you willing to waive that technical requirement?
Miss BOWRON - Yes; I am.
Mr. SPECTER - All right. Will you stand up and raise your right hand?
Do you solemnly swear the testimony you will give before the President's Commission in these deposition proceedings will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Miss BOWRON - I do.
Mr. SPECTER - What is your permanent residence address, Miss Bowron?
Miss BOWRON - 1107 Brockbank, Dallas 29, Tex.
Mr. SPECTER - Will you spell that street name and speak up more loudly?
Miss BOWRON - B-r-o-c-k-b-a-n-k [spelling].
Mr. SPECTER - Thank you. Are you a native of Dallas, or of some other area?
Miss BOWRON - I am a native of England.
Mr. SPECTER - And how long have you been in Dallas?
Miss BOWRON - Since August 4, 1963.
Mr. SPECTER - And what are the circumstances surrounding your employment here at Parkland Memorial Hospital?
Miss BOWRON - I answered an advertisement in August and came over on a year's contract and to work in the emergency room.
Mr. SPECTER - Are you a registered nurse?
Miss BOWRON - Yes.
Mr. SPECTER - And what is your educational background?
Miss BOWRON - I went to private boarding school and to secondary school, and then I went through nurses' training for 3 years and 3 months in England. I finished in February of last year.
Mr. SPECTER - And how old are you at the present time?
Miss BOWRON - Twenty-two.
Mr. SPECTER - Did you have occasion to render assistance to President Kennedy back on November 22, 1963?
Miss BOWRON - I did; yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER - Will you relate briefly the circumstances surrounding your being called in to assist in that case?
Miss BOWRON - I was assigned to work in the minor medicine and surgery area and I was passing through major surgery and I heard over the intercom that they needed carts out at the emergency room entrance, so the orderly from the triage desk, which was passing through and he and I took one cart from major surgery and ran down the hall and by the cashier's desk, there were some men I assume were Secret Service men.
Mr. SPECTER - Did you know at that time whom you were going to aid?
Miss BOWRON - No, sir.
Mr. SPECTER - You later assumed they were Secret Service men?
Miss BOWRON - Yes, sir; and they encouraged us to run down to the door.
Mr. SPECTER - And did you have a stretcher with you at that time?
Miss BOWRON - Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER - And was one stretcher or more than one stretcher being brought forward at that time?
Miss BOWRON - There was another stretcher being brought forward from the OB--GYN section.
Mr. SPECTER - That's the obstetrics and gynecology section?
Miss BOWRON - Yes.
Mr. SPECTER - And were you wheeling one stretcher by yourself, or was someone helping?
Miss BOWRON - No; the orderly from the triage desk was helping us.
Mr. SPECTER - Was helping you?
Miss BOWRON - Yes.
Mr. SPECTER - Who was that?
Miss BOWRON - Joe---I've forgotten what his last name is, I'm sorry. I know his first name is Joe and he's on duty today.
Mr. SPECTER - And who was bringing the other stretcher?
Miss BOWRON - I don't know, sir, I heard afterwards that Dr. Midgett took one stretcher. I don't know who was assisting him.
Mr. SPECTER - And what is Dr. Midgett's first name?
Miss BOWRON - Bill.
Mr. SPECTER - And, where did you take your stretcher?
Miss BOWRON - To the left-hand side of the car as you are facing it, and we had to move Governor Connally out first because he was in the front. We couldn't get to the back seat. While all the Secret Service men were moving Governor Connally I went around to the other side of the car to try to help with the President and then we got him onto the second cart and then took him straight over to trauma room 1.
Mr. SPECTER - Trauma room No. 1?
Miss BOWRON - Yes.
Mr. SPECTER - And describe in a general way Governor Connally's condition when you first saw him?
Miss BOWRON - He was very pale, he was leaning forward and onto Mrs. Connally but apparently---I didn't notice very much---I was more concerned with the person in the back of the car---the President.
Mr. SPECTER - And what, in a general way, did you observe with respect to President Kennedy's condition?
Miss BOWRON - He was very pale, he was lying across Mrs. Kennedy's knee and there seemed to be blood everywhere. When I went around to the other side of the car I saw the condition of his head.
Mr. SPECTER - You saw the condition of his what?
Miss BOWRON - The back of his head.
Mr. SPECTER - And what was that condition?
Miss BOWRON - Well, it was very bad---you know.
Mr. SPECTER - How many holes did you see?
Miss BOWRON - I just saw one large hole.
Mr. SPECTER - Did you see a small bullet hole beneath that one large hole?
Miss BOWRON - No, sir.
Mr. SPECTER - Did you notice any other wound on the President's body?
Miss BOWRON - No, sir.
Mr. SPECTER - And what action did you take at that time, if any?
Miss BOWRON - I helped to lift his head and Mrs. Kennedy pushed me away and lifted his head herself onto the cart and so I went around back to the cart and walked off with it. We ran on with it to the trauma room and she ran beside us.
Mr. SPECTER - And who was in the trauma room when you arrived there?
Miss BOWRON - Dr. Carrico.
Mr. SPECTER - Where did Dr. Carrico join you?
Miss BOWRON - At the---I couldn't really tell you exactly, but it was inside major surgery. Miss Henchliffe, the other nurse who is assigned to major surgery, was in the trauma room already setting the I.V.'s---the intravenous bottles up.
Mr. SPECTER - And were there any other nurses present at that time when the President arrived in the trauma area?
Miss BOWRON - I don't think so, sir.
Mr. SPECTER - Were there any doctors present besides Dr. Carrico?
Miss BOWRON - I didn't notice anybody---there may have been.
Mr. SPECTER - What action did you observe Dr. Carrico take, if any?
Miss BOWRON - We tried to start an I.V. cutdown and I don't know whether it was his left or his right leg, and Miss Henchliffe and I cut off his clothing and then after that everybody just arrived at once and it was more or less everybody sort of helping everybody else. We opened the chest tube trays and the venesectron trays.
Mr. SPECTER - How long were you present in the emergency room No. 1?
Miss BOWRON - I was in there until they needed some blood, which was the second lot of blood. I went---ran out across to the blood bank and came back and went into the trauma room. By that time they had decided that he was dead, they said.
And then, we stayed in there with him and cleaned him up, removed all of his clothing and put them all together and Miss Henchliffe gave them to one of the Secret Service men, and we stayed with the body until the coffin came, and helped put him in there, and then we--
Mr. SPECTER - When you say "we", whom do you mean by "we"?
Miss BOWRON - Miss Henchliffe and myself.
Mr. SPECTER - Anybody besides the two of you?
Miss BOWRON - Yes; there was an orderly called David Sanders who helped us to clean the floor, because there were leaves and sheets and everything was rather a mess on the floor and he came to clean the floor for us so that it wouldn't look so bad when Mrs. Kennedy went in. And then Mrs. Kennedy wanted to be alone with him after the priests left, so we all came out and sat there outside and she was alone with him in the trauma room, and we didn't go in any more after that.
Mr. SPECTER - Did you see him at any time after that?
Miss BOWRON - No, sir---only when they were wheeling him out in the coffin.
Mr. SPECTER - What doctors were present during the time he was being treated.
Miss BOWRON - Dr. Carrico and---who else was there---there were so many.
Mr. SPECTER - Do you recall any of the names?
Miss BOWRON - I don't.
Mr. SPECTER - Was there any other nurses present other than those you have already mentioned?
Miss BOWRON - Miss Standridge, Jeanette Standridge came in, Mrs. Nelson--- the supervisor.
Mr. SPECTER - Any other nurses present there?
Miss BOWRON - Not that I could say, sir---I don't know the name of any.
Mr. SPECTER - While the doctors were working on President Kennedy, did you ever have any opportunity to observe his neck?
Miss BOWRON - No; I didn't, until afterwards..
Mr. SPECTER - Until after what?
Miss BOWRON - Until after they had pronounced him dead and we cleaned up and removed the trach tube, and indeed we were really too shocked to really take much notice.
Mr. SPECTER - Did you ever see his neck prior to the time you removed the trach tube?
Miss BOWRON - No, sir.
Mr. SPECTER - Now, did you personally participate in removing President Kennedy's body from the stretcher?
Miss BOWRON - No, sir---I didn't touch him. We held him with the sheet.
Mr. SPECTER - Were you present when his body was removed from the stretcher?
Miss BOWRON - Yes; I was.
Mr. SPECTER - And did you observe the stretcher from which his body was removed to be the same stretcher that he had been brought into trauma room No. 1
Miss BOWRON - Yes.
Mr. SPECTER - That's the stretcher you took out there for him?
Miss BOWRON - Yes.
Mr. SPECTER - And what sheets were present on the stretcher or in the adjacent area used in the care of President Kennedy?
Miss BOWRON - The sheets that had already been on the stretcher when we took it out with the President on. When we came back after all the work had been done on him---so that Mrs. Kennedy could have a look before he was, you know, really moved into the coffin. We wrapped some extra sheets around his head so it wouldn't look so bad and there were some sheets on the floor so that nobody would step in the blood. Those were put down during all the work that was going on so the doctors wouldn't slip.
Mr. SPECTER - What was done with all of the sheets on the stretcher and on floor area there?
Miss BOWRON - They were all gathered up and put into a linen scape.
Mr. SPECTER - Did you gather them up yourself?
Miss BOWRON - Yes.
Mr. SPECTER - All of them?
Miss BOWRON - Yes; with the help of Miss Henchliffe.
Mr. SPECTER - And did the two of you put them in the linen hamper?
Miss BOWRON - Yes; I put them in the linen hamper myself.
Mr. SPECTER - What was done with the stretcher then?
Miss BOWRON - The stretcher was then wheeled across into trauma room No.2 which was empty.
Mr. SPECTER - Was there anything on the stretcher at all when it was wheeled into trauma room No. 2?
Miss BOWRON - Not that we noticed, except the rubber mattress that was left on it.
Mr. SPECTER - Would you have noticed anything had anything been on that stretcher?
Miss BOWRON - Yes; I think so.
Mr. SPECTER - And where was the stretcher when you last saw it?
Miss BOWRON - Being wheeled across into trauma room 2.
Mr. SPECTER - Now, I am going to show you three photostatic copies of newspaper stories which I will ask the Court Reporter to mark Bowron Exhibit Nos. 2, 3 and 4. (Instruments referred to marked by the Reporter as Bowron Exhibit Nos. 2, 3, and 4, for identification.)

Mr. SPECTER - Will you look at those and tell me whether or not those are photostatic copies of newspaper accounts of your story of this assassination day?
Miss BOWRON - They are photostatic copies of the articles that appeared in the newspapers, but they are not all my story.
Mr. SPECTER - What newspapers did they appear in?
Miss BOWRON - I believe this is the "Observer".
Mr. SPECTER - You are referring to BX Number 2 and what city is that published in?
Miss BOWRON - London.
Mr. SPECTER - And BX Number 3 came from where?
Miss BOWRON - I think that this was "The Mail---The Daily Mail".
Mr. SPECTER - Appearing in what city?
Miss BOWRON - It appears in all cities. It is a national newspaper.
Mr. SPECTER - In England?
Miss BOWRON - Yes; it is prepared in England.
Mr. SPECTER - And how about BX-4?
Miss BOWRON - Well, this I think was "The Mirror" I think.
Mr. SPECTER - What city is The Mirror published in?
Miss BOWRON - That is a national newspaper.
Mr. SPECTER - Appearing in England?
Miss BOWRON - Yes.
Mr. SPECTER - Were there any stories in any other newspapers about you and your participation in .the events of the day at Parkland?
Miss BOWRON - I believe there was one---I think it was an Australian paper and Mrs. Nelson received a letter from there with an article and which was the same as I think---as this one.
Miss BOWRON - Yes.
Mr. SPECTER - And does that constitute all the stories which appeared about your participation in this event?
Miss BOWRON - Yes.
Mr. SPECTER - Now, will you state briefly the circumstances under which this information was obtained, if you know?
Miss BOWRON - Mrs. Nelson spoke to me and told me that there had been two English reporters in Dallas who had been asking about me, and she told them where to get in touch with me, and the next day they came to the emergency room and wanted to speak to me and I said I couldn't tell them anything other than I was from England, gave them my home address, and the fact that I had been present and I was the one who went out to the car and brought the President in and being with him until they finished, and that was all that I told them.
Mr. SPECTER - Did you give them any information beyond that?
Miss BOWRON - No, sir; and they told me that there would probably be some English reporters calling on my parents at home, and I am the only child and my mother worries, so I called home the next---that night and told my parents that I had been on duty and that there would probably be some reporters calling on them, and they weren't to worry about it but they weren't to say anything that except that I had been on duty and that was all.
Mr. SPECTER - Have you been interviewed by any representative of the Federal Government prior to today?
Miss BOWRON - Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER - By whom?
Miss BOWRON - I don't really know-he was an FBI agent.
Mr. SPECTER - And when was that?
Miss BOWRON - It was a week or two, I think, after the assassination.
Mr. SPECTER - And what did he ask you and what did you tell him?
Miss BOWRON - He asked us more or less the same questions you have asked us.
Mr. SPECTER - What did you tell him?
Miss BOWRON - The same as I told you.
Mr. SPECTER - When you say "us", whom do you mean by "us"?
Miss BOWRON - Mrs. Nelson was there and Miss Henchliffe and myself.
Mr. SPECTER - Have you talked to any other representatives of the Federal Government prior to today?
Miss BOWRON - No, sir.
Mr. SPECTER - And did I discuss with you the purpose of the deposition and the nature of the questions that I would ask you immediately before we went on the record with this being taken down by the Court Reporter?
Miss BOWRON - Yes.
Mr. SPECTER - And did you give me the same information which you have put on the record here today?
Miss BOWRON - Yes.
Mr. SPECTER - Do you have anything to add that you think might be helpful in any way to the Commission?
Miss BOWRON - Yes. When we were doing a cutdown on the President's left arm, his gold watch was in the way and they broke it---you know, undid it and it was slipping down and I just dropped it off of his hand and put it in my pocket and forgot completely about it until his body was being taken out of the emergency room and then I realized, and ran out to give it to one of the Secret Service men or anybody I could find and found this Mr. Wright.
Mr. SPECTER - Was that the same day?
Miss BOWRON - Yes--he had only just gone through O.B.---I was just a few feet behind him.
Mr. SPECTER - Do you think of anything else that might be of assistance to the Commission?
Miss BOWRON - No, sir.
Mr. SPECTER - Thank you very much for coming, Miss Bowron.
Miss BOWRON - Thank you.
Mr. SPECTER - Thank you a lot.
Miss BOWRON - All right, thank you.