Saturday, 25 July 2009

A nice cup of tea

Looking at a list of requirements for VADs to take with them when proceeding on active service in 1916, I noticed an entry which said 'Etna Stove advisable'. I know what the usual Beatrice Stove looked like, but had never come across an Etna Stove before, and Googling took me to this piece of video on YouTube. This is, of course, a modern day self-build, but surely that 1916 version can't be so far removed. A great insight into life in a tent during the Great War!

Etna Stove

Sunday, 19 July 2009

The National Archives' guides

The National Archives has a whole series of research guides available online covering a wide variety of subjects from British army officers to railway workers and bankrupts and debtors - and very useful they can be. However, a recent one titled 'Looking for records of a British army nurse' carries an error duplicated from the previous guide, which could suggest a dead-end where in fact there might be hope. One paragraph reads:

The Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service was originally called the Army Nursing Service (1884-1902). No significant records of the Army Nursing Service have survived.

However, contained in WO25/3955 are service record sheets for every woman who joined the Army Nursing Service from its inception until 1891 - an extract from one is shown in my posting of 3rd May 2009 about Margaret Fellowes. Some are brief - some women stayed a very short time - but many are full and of great interest, outlining their postings, awards, and reports on their work and behaviour. The ledger stops in the middle of 1891, so any woman joining after that date will not have an entry, but for those whose service started before that date, a check of this document should prove useful. The latest TNA guide is here (but don't believe the bit about the lack of ANS records!)

The National Archives - Looking for records of a British army nurse