Nurses of Passchendaele, caring for the wounded of the Ypres Campaigns 1914-1918

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.


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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.