Thursday 15 March 2012


Although members of Voluntary Aid Detachments left behind many personal reminiscences and accounts of their time working in hospitals during the Great War, there's not a lot available online that looks at the 'official' side of their service. It's hard to find details of things like pay and conditions of service, where they worked and what they actually did. Also, there are often comments made about 'problems,' but rarely any clear indication of what the problems were. So I've started putting together a few pages about VAD service during the Great War, based mainly on official documents that originated with the British Red Cross Society and are now held online at the Imperial War Museum as part of their Women's Work Collection. All the items on the website are transcriptions of the original documents with photos that I've collected over time. I intend to add a good deal more over time, but the pages can be found here:

Voluntary Aid Detachments

Friday 2 March 2012

A Nurse at the Front

Yesterday saw the publication of 'A Nurse at the Front, the First World War Diaries of Sister Edith Appleton.' Edited by Ruth Cowen, and published by Simon and Schuster in conjunction with the Imperial War Museum, it relates the daily trials and pleasures of 'Edie' who worked throughout the war as a Nursing Sister with Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserve. The background to Edie's life and work, and the story of the diaries can be found on Dick Robinson's website here:

Edith Appleton

and an interview with Dick at the IWM on publication day can be viewed here:

Dick at the IWM **

I'm sure that this book will become a classic among Great War nursing publications, so don't hesitate - you really might as well go out and buy it now, and as it also comes in a Kindle edition there's no excuse!

A Nurse at the Front (this link to Amazon - other booksellers are available)

**Note: the photo of a nurse used in this clip is not actually Edie, but her great friend Kate Maxey.