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The many battles faced by WW1's nurses

 
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Geregistreerd op: 7-2-2006
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BerichtGeplaatst: 06 Apr 2014 19:31    Onderwerp: The many battles faced by WW1's nurses Reageer met quote

Artikel geschreven door de dochter van Vera Brittain

Quote:
Nursing in World War One was exhausting, often dangerous work and the women who volunteered experienced the horror of war firsthand, some paying the ultimate price. But their story is surrounded by myth and their full contribution often goes unrecognised, writes Shirley Williams.

In his much-admired book published in 1975, The Great War and Modern Memory, the American literary critic and historian, Paul Fussell, wrote about the pervasive myths and legends of WW1, so powerful they became indistinguishable from fact in many minds. Surprisingly, Fussell hardly mentioned nurses. There is no reference to Edith Cavell, let alone Florence Nightingale.

Yet the myth of the gentle young nurse, often a voluntary and untrained VAD (Voluntary Aid Detachment), in her starched and spotless white uniform, was universally admired. It echoed centuries of stories from King Arthur and the Round Table to Shakespeare's Henry V, where rough but brave warriors encountered graceful young women who cared for them.

My mother, Vera Brittain, author of the moving and candid chronicle of her own wartime experience, Testament of Youth, became part of the myth. In the course of the war she lost all the young men she had loved: her fiance Roland, her brother Edward, her dear friends Victor and Geoffrey.

She threw herself into nursing in some of the most dreadful battlegrounds in an attempt to ease the pain of bereavement. She also dedicated herself to recreating the characters and lives of those she had lost so generations of readers would come to know them and they would live in the memory of many. In a way she succeeded, as this short verse in her first published book of poetry, Verses of a VAD (1920), exemplifies:

Epitaph On My Days in Hospital: I found in you a holy place apart, Sublime endurance, God in man revealed, Where mending broken bodies slowly healed, My broken heart

Her personal experience combined with her talent for writing made compelling prose. Because of a few other women writers who had been wartime nurses as well as herself, the legend of the VAD came to dominate nursing history. But despite their accounts, often what was written was neither wholly accurate nor wholly fair. Acceptance of nurses as equal contributors with doctors on the front line is still to fully arrive.

Lees verder
http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-26838077
_________________
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Tell them, because our fathers lied
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