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Nursing Through Shot and Shell: A Great War Nurse's Story

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Nursing Through Shot and Shell: A Great War Nurse's Story.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Christine Smyth(Author) Vivien Newman(Author)

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This recently discovered memoir gives an intimate glimpse into the Great War service of Beatrice Hopkinson, a Territorial Forces Nursing Service Sister, who remained steadfastly and true to her profession as she nursed through shot and shell. Dr Vivien Newman's meticulously researched Introduction brings Beatrice's world out of the shadows, juxtaposing her war service against the background of the Army Nursing Service, where dedicated, professional nurses worked closer to the Front Line than women could have ever previously imagined doing. Beatrice was selected for the most onerous type of duty in the bitterest phase of the war. She had arrived in St Omer in the summer of 1917 when the town was being continuously bombed. With her hospital under nightly attack, Beatrice simply got on with the job she had come to France to do: saving the lives and easing the dying of soldiers on the Western Front. For Beatrice, spring 1918 was marked by a 'sea of blood'. Caught up in the British Army's headlong retreat when hospitals and patients risked being captured by the enemy, she and her 'rapid response' team were rushed between several Casualty Clearing Stations in France and Belgium.They operated on thousands of soldiers wounded in Germany's final attempt to win the War. As the fortunes of war finally turned in the Allies' favour, Beatrice advanced through Belgium, a land destroyed by war and enemy occupation. This diary gives rare insight into the realities of Front Line nursing through the eyes of someone who had never anticipated working for the Army but who, when her country called, willingly and steadfastly answered.

(Editor) Dr Vivien Newman is the author of We Also Served: The Forgotten Women of the First World War. An expert on women's experiences during the First World War, she is based at the University of Essex. Dr Newman is also working on a collection of women's First World War poetry and a book on children's experiences during the conflict, both due to be published by Pen and Sword. She is a regular speaker at national conferences and for groups including the Women's Institute and the Western Front Association.

2.5 (7032)
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Review Text

  • By twinkletoes on 21 May 2017

    I was quite disappointed with this expensive book which neither told me about the nursing techniques employed at the various CCS nor any details about the soldiers nursed. The discourse seemed more like a travelog of her tour of duty

  • By Jude on 5 July 2015

    I expected to read a diary: but this book is more than that. Dr Newman has written a detailed foreword explaining the role of our nurses during the first world war. This is very interesting, giving a lot of historical facts as well as placing Beatrice's (the nurse whose memoir it is) whereabouts during her time at the front.We then get to Beatrice's part of the book. It is written in story line as opposed to a daily diary: I liked that, it made it more interesting to read. Some of the situations she found herself in were amazing. It really brings home what the nurses went through. A really beautiful and poignant story which is well worth reading.

  • By Emma on 4 September 2016

    This well researched book of Vivien Newman’s is based upon the personal memoirs of Beatrice Hopkinson. It is a vivid and brave account of what it may have been like to be a member of the Territorial Forces Nursing Service.The author’s research provides the reader with a concise historical background that allows a greater depth of understanding of that time. The memoirs are unique in places, exploring the vocation of the ‘rapid response teams’ in France. These were teams of six nurses who would be sent out to provide care where needed, usually close to the front line. The book demonstrates how demanding, and often dangerous their work was. Beatrice was one of the elite, these nurses were only selected if they were competent to a high level. Her words had me gripping this book tightly. The bravery of these nurses, including she, will entrance every reader.The book interestingly follows on after the war and is no less touching. It describes how the German front lines were pushed back and how the nursing teams were faced with the un-imaginable sights of the casualties of war. Importantly it also later highlights how the nurses were affected by patients and colleagues dying of influenza.I highly recommend this beautifully written book. It is informative, factual and a truly compelling read.

  • By Lulu on 9 November 2015

    An unusual and engrossing book! I thought the idea of giving the reader background information about the war first and then letting Beatrice speak for herself was very clever. The first part is full of interesting facts and Dr Newman's ability to explain them in an easily understandable way makes us eager to know more. Her sensitive editing of Beatrice's intriguing memoirs had me turning the pages and left me filled with admiration for this courageous nurse.I very much enjoyed Dr Newman's previous book, We Also Served and I look forward to reading more of this author's work

  • By Daisy65 on 19 January 2017

    I've been avidly reading anything I can get about 'life' in the 1st world war & I was so pleasantly surprised by this one - I'd passed over it several times but so glad I bought it. The actual account written by Beatrice was enthralling & gave details I'd not come across before, particularly her descriptions of visiting battle sites after the armistice.

  • By LoobyLoo on 29 September 2015

    very intersting read thank you


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