Sunday 21 July 2013

Snatches of Life

Because there are so few official records of the pre-WW1 military nursing services still surviving today, piecing together the details of the nurses' lives can be hard. So coming across little snatches of information can be useful, both for adding to the story of the service, and also the background of the women themselves. The National Archives hold copies of the minutes of meetings of the Nursing Board of Q.A.I.M.N.S. between 1902 and 1911, and they provide one of the few sources for discovering how original decisions were made. For those who find pleasure in being immersed in the most minute and boring of detail (me) they're a gold mine of both useful and useless information. Yesterday I found this little gem, which refers to a nurse born in Aberdeen in 1876, the daughter of a farmer, and who trained as a nurse at Liverpool Royal Infirmary between 1905 and 1909:

13 October 1909
The case of Miss J. F___, a candidate for Q.A.I.M.N.S., medically unfit owing to loss of teeth, referred by Selecting Sub-Committee was considered. The Board decided that this lady should be accepted on condition that she provides herself with a second set of artificial teeth, in the event of being ordered abroad.

Miss J. F. was accepted, and went on to serve at home and abroad and throughout the Great War, teeth or no teeth. I'm not sure what I learnt from this little extract, but somehow it says a lot about life at that time and the official reaction to it.

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