“Am having a lovely time off duty” – the opportunity for sightseeing

Soldiers and nurses of the First AIF took advantage of their time in the army to go sightseeing whilst in the Middle East and Europe.

Staff Nurse Ilma Emily Lovell, who had trained at Wallsend Hospital, kept in touch with a cousin from Wallsend through letters written on postcards.  Transcript courtesy Newcastle Museum.

Note:  It is important to remember that letters home were censored so nurses and soldiers had to be guarded in what they wrote about.

31st General Hospital, August 19th [no year]

Dear Stannie,

Parcel arrived yesterday, containing socks for which I thank you.  I gave them to two Australian boys, they were very pleased & are writing to thank you for them.  We are still very busy here.  I am in the officers’ ward & we have nearly all Australian officers in, they are fine men too.  I love every minute of Egypt, am having a lovely time off duty, have seen everything here worth seeing, & some of the sights are beautiful, I will never forget them.  This Hospital is practically an Aust Hosp now, the nursing staff are all Austs but the doctors are English.  My love to you all, yours lovingly Ilma.

Note:  31st General was a British Hospital.

Click here for other first hand accounts.

Postcard of a pyramid, sent from Egypt by Staff Nurse Ilma Lovell to a cousin in Wallsend.
Image: Courtesy Newcastle Museum













© Christine Bramble 2013



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