Book review: “Wounded”

“Wounded” by Emily Mayhew

Reviewed by WW1HA President Sal Compagno

In any war the term “casualty” includes many elements, e.g. killed, wounded, captured etc.  Too often war historians concentrate on the “killed” to summarize battles, final outcome and costs.  But in most modern wars, the wounded figure greater in number than killed.  They are often marginalized and ignored in the total picture.  Emily Mayhew, a British historian, found the neglected issue of the wounded not given enough focus by military or war historians.  She set about researching the treatment of the British wounded in World War 1.  This short, but fascinating study, enlightens a part of that war unseen nor
reported by the media and deliberately kept from the public.  Her research took considerable time as documentation was not often accessible, but her perseverance revealed a broad effort to provide medical care to a war whose massive and brutal  casualties overwhelmed the then medical capabilities.

Her approach was to take the whole medical spectrum through personal accounts and divides the book into chapters titled: Stretcher Bearers, Regimental Medical Officers, Surgeons etc.  As the war progressed and the wounded approached enormous numbers, innovations  such as mobile Xrays, proceeded accordingly but not always with the success perceived.

Frustrations, delays, lack of supplies, plagued all medical units and she carefully categorizes the response.  New and innovative procedures had to developed and some truly remarkable attempts to save lives were achieved. Mayhew has done a worthwhile investigation of a shadow element of the war.

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Book news from the New York Times

New Novels on the Way From ‘Schindler’s List’ Author

By LESLIE KAUFMAN

Thomas Keneally, the best-selling author of “Schindler’s List,” will be releasing a new book with a new publisher this summer, Atria Books announced Tuesday.

Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, said it had acquired United States rights to two new novels from Mr. Keneally, who has already published 25. The first, “The Daughter of Mars,” is drawn from actual diaries and is about two sisters from Australia, both nurses, whose lives are transformed by World War I. It is scheduled to come out this August.

The second book will be a novel involving the stories of prisoners of war during World War II, the publisher said.

A Canadian nursing sister at rest

Blogger CAMC has a new post about Nursing Sister Margaret Lowe, who was born in Scotland, enlisted in Canada and eventually posted to the 1st Canadian General Hospital in France. She was mortally wounded in a German air attack and died May 28, 1918 at the age of 30. Here’s a photo from her funeral of nurses passing the cemetery in Etaples where she was buried.
lowes-grave-3

 

And here’s the link:
http://camc.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/nursing-sister-margaret-lowe/

Share your family history

Canada’s History magazine is calling for scanned letters, photos and memorabilia from relatives of those who served during the war, including the many women who helped win the war on the homefront as well as overseas. Do you have family connections to share?

Here’s the link:

http://canadashistory.ca/Magazine/The-Great-War-Album.aspx

McMaster University Libraries has a fascinating post about a series of leaflets written to encourage British and Canadian women to take an active role in fighting the war.

http://pw20c.mcmaster.ca/case-study/support-and-

substitution-women-s-roles-during-world-war-i

“Diary Without Dates”

Blogger Victoria Janssen, who’s participating in the War Between the Generations WWI reading challenge, most recently read “A Diary Without Dates,” by Enid Bagnold. Bagnold wrote “National Velvert.” During the war, when she wrote this diary, she was a VAD who got kicked out because her writing was too critical of the hospital.

This is not a compliment about the hospital: “Like nuns, one must learn to do with no nearer friend than God. Bolts, in the shape of sudden, whimsical orders, are flung by an Almighty whom one does not see.”

Here’s a link to Victoria’s review: www.victoriajanssen.com/2012/06/a-diary-without-dates-enid-bagnold-wwi-challenge/

And here’s a link to the WWI Reading Challenge: http://warthroughthegenerations.wordpress.com/tag/wwi-reading-challenge/

“Diary Without Dates” is an example of a book published before 1923 and no longer covered by copyright in the United States that has been picked up by a print-on-demand company. These companies acquire books, scan them and produce them on paper. You can buy one of these books with no guarantee of the quality — the producers say upfront that the pages might be smudgy, which I could consider disastrous if I were trying to decipher a map. Or you can download it and read it for free, which is what Victoria did.

This is the future: books we read on digital devices. For now, e-readers have little screens that must make trench maps, for instance, even harder to interpret (I can’t read them at all).

I would rather buy what seems to me a real book, however yellowed and faded, or library musty, or paperback flabby. All I want is to read it.

What about you? E-book, POD, paper?

“Diary Without Dates” itself doesn’t pose such a complicated question. You can get a perfectly nice copy republished by Virago Press in 1978, here, http://www.biblio.com/details.php?dcx=460745964&aid=bkfndr, but it’s the principle I ponder.

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Enid Bagnold in 1918

Solar eclipse in 1918

This is a lovely, almost eerie photo of an eclipse, taken by a nurse serving in France, from our blogger friend Portraits of War..

http://portraitsofwar.wordpress.com/2012/05/21/world-war-one-solar-eclipse-captured-in-france-1918-american-red-cross-nurse-photo-album-image/

Here’s an itty bitty copy of the photo. That little white smudge is the sun. Portraits of War, of course, has the full photo.

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Vera Brittain

Here’s a very interesting post about the writer many people think of as the voice of women during the Great War.

http://greatwarfiction.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/vera-brittain-fact-and-fiction/#more-3070

George Simmers presents a lot of information I had never had before about how Brittain wrote her acclaimed autobiography “Testament of Youth.”

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Vera Brittain during the war.

Nursing Sister Marjorie Beatrice Moberly

Injustice, or just a mistake?

A tribute to some women and men who served in armed conflicts

Nursing Sister Marjorie Beatrice Moberly served in the Canadian Army Medical Corps during WW1. She served only in Canada and was born in 1895 Totnes District, Devon, United Kingdom.

She graduated from the Nursing School of the Royal Jubilee Hospital, Vernon, British-Columbia

Her parents were Major and Mrs. Guy Moberly of 1630 Haro street, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Her father enlisted in the 7th battalion Canadian Expeditionary Forces in September 1914.

October 26th, 1918 : She died at the Coquitlam Military Hospital of influenza. Her funeral was held on October 30th and she was buried at the Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver, British Columbia

Excerpt from the Vancouver Daily Province  October 28, 1918 : The death occurred at the Coquitlam Military Hospital on Saturday of Nursing Sister Marjorie Beatrice Moberly, aged 23. She had applied for overseas’ service eighteen months ago, but was not called on until the influenza outbreak, when…

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WW1 Commonwealth nurses uniform – part 4

A tribute to some women and men who served in armed conflicts

This is the last post of a serie of four on WW1 nurse’s uniform. This text gives you a comparison of other WW1 woman nursing personnel uniform who were wearing with the Australian and British forces. I do not pretend that this text is the definitive source of information but rather some observations made after looking at many WW1 Canadian Nursing Sisters pictures. I was never able to find the official Dress Regulations for the WW1 Canadian Nursing Sisters so these posts are the starting point to something that could evolve as I get new information on the subject.

You can find the first post on WW1 Canadian Nursing Sister Service Dress by clicking here, the second post on the Ceremonial Dress by clicking here and third post on How the Nursing Sister were wearing their uniform by clicking here.

Australian nurse – Frances Mary Byron MacKellar

click on the image…

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WW1 Canadian Nursing Sister uniform – part 3 – How to wear the uniform

Here they are, dressed for success. The nurses’ uniforms were hot in the summer and none too cozy in the winter. Their feet hurt, their backs hurt — but be sure to scroll down and look at the photo of nurses running a race. For fun.

Thanks for these wonderful pictures and details!

A tribute to some women and men who served in armed conflicts

This is part of a serie of 4 posts on the uniform of the WW1 Canadian Nursing Sister. Post 1 can is on the subject of the Service Dress and can be read by clicking here. Post 2 is on the subject of the Ceremonial Dress and can be read by clicking here. Post 4 shows other uniforms for WW1 Female Medical personnel from other Commenwealth Forces and can be read by clicking here.

I do not pretend that this text is the definitive source of information but rather some observations made after looking at many WW1 Canadian Nursing Sisters pictures. I was never able to find the official Dress Regulations for the WW1 Canadian Nursing Sisters so these posts are the starting point to something that could evolve as I get new information on the subject.

Nursing Sisters just before an operation – no Service Dress here but still…

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