“Dirty, unshaven, and very forlorn”- patients at a Red Cross Hospital in England

Sister Gertrude Helena Faddy ARRC happened to be in England when war broke out in 1914 and offered her services to the Red Cross.  In a letter to the Australasian Nurses’ Journal (ANJ) published in April 1915, she describes nursing casualties newly arrived from France:

“We have been full and busy all the time.  The work is very interesting, and not so depressing as you might think,  because the Tommies are very cheery souls once they get on the mend.  Dirty, unshaven, and very forlorn looking when they come in, seldom with any of their original kit on, if they have it is muddy and gore-stained.  There are altogether 35 huts here full of wounded, and more going up.  …

Although the wounds are usually very septic when they get here, due to exposure and lying in the trenches until they could be got away with safety, they clear up wonderfully well.  Shrapnel, bullets, bits of shell, even pieces of khaki, are extracted under anaesthetics, and kept as souvenirs by the men.”

ANJ April 1915.

Click here for other first hand accounts.

© Christine Bramble 2013

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