A very welcome new book from an author with a passion for her subject. A well-researched study of a subject that has received far less attention than it merits. The photo-plate section is well selected, with images that have not previously appeared in a printed work. There are also extensive notes on the sources used, making this a valuable reference work in addition to being a fascinating story – Most Highly Recommended.
NAME: Nurses of Passchendaele, caring for the wounded of the Ypres Campaigns 1914-1918 FILE: R2573 AUTHOR: Christine E Hallett PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword BINDING: soft back PAGES: 196 PRICE: £12.99 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: WWI, World War I, World War1, First World War, The Great War, Europe, Western Front, Ypres Salient, Ypres Campaigns, nursing, medical care, mobile hospitals, nurses ISBN: 1-52670-288-6 IMAGE: B2573.jpg BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/ybbltky2 LINKS: DESCRIPTION: A very welcome new book from an author with a passion for her subject. A well-researched study of a subject that has received far less attention than it merits. The photo-plate section is well selected, with images that have not previously appeared in a printed work. There are also extensive notes on the sources used, making this a valuable reference work in addition to being a fascinating story – Most Highly Recommended. WWI marked a host of firsts in combat and support. It was a significant change from the pattern of previous conflicts. Its scale was enormous and it produced a mountain of dead. Had it not coincided with major advances in medical care, WWI would have produced a cataclysmic death toll to rival the Black Death. The author has provided a unique insight through the prism of the courageous women who nursed the wounded and damaged soldiers close to the front line. The reach of weapons, appearing for the first time in large scale battles, was different from anything known before. Artillery may not have been greatly changed, but it was present in very large numbers and with heavy guns complimenting the field artillery from behind the front line. The machine gun may have been fifty years old, but it was used in such large numbers, and in conjunction with barbed wire entanglements, that it swept most frontal assault to the point where there might be no survivors. It also made difficulties for the stretcher bearers who had to attempt recovery of the wounded. Poison gas made its first appearance as a standard weapon and could be delivered in a number of ways. Frequently a two edged sword, gas could cause as many casualties amongst those releasing it as in the enemy trenches. Aircraft introduced not only new technology, but a new dimension to the battlefield. They could also range behind enemy lines and cause serious damage in rear areas that previously would have escaped enemy attention. This meant that supplies and medical care could be as exposed to danger as those in the trench lines. Fortunately, advances in medical care for the wounded were able to provide some balance and the Great War was the first where a high proportion of wounded were able to survive, even though many would suffer life changing conditions. The author has traced the personal experiences of some extraordinary women who provided medical care at great personal risk. It is a highly motivating collection of experiences. Prior to WWI, soldiers could expect little medical care in battle. Regiments did have surgeons, often Scots who had qualified at the impressive Scottish medical colleges, but had then been unable to purchase a practice, or even buy the basic tools of their trade. It was a Scot who set up the Royal Army Medical Corps. Before the RAMC, the regimental surgeons provided very basic medical care. Survival rates, even for minor wounds and infections, were not very high and the Surgeon Major would carry sword and side arm as in the case of Surgeon Major Bryden who was charged with riding to the nearest British units to warn of the massacre of the Army of the Indus at the Khyber Pass. Setting out with an escort of Indian lancers, his sword was struck by a sniper's bullet and the blade broke four inches from the hilt. His escort was whittled down and he charged through the last attempt by the Afghans to stop him, throwing his broken sword into their midst and following it, breaking through and riding to give the warning. Nursing was often provided by other soldiers who might see their duty as helping the wounded out of their misery humanely. By the time of the Great War, medical care was not only vastly better organized, but doctors and nurses had effectively become non- combatants with some protection under the Geneva Conventions and the Red Cross. That did not provide much protection and many doctors and nurses died during WWI. Nursing also followed the same path as war industries, where women volunteered in large numbers and made a vital contribution at all levels. The author has eloquently set out the story – a book not to be missed.