Do you have a story of your own or a family member's experiences of wartime medical service? Have you found relatives' photos, letters or even scrapbooks in your attic?
We would like to gather nursing stories from any conflict, including before and after the First World War. Share them below to become part of this project documenting nurses' service.
My great aunt Ethel was a nurse in Lancashire in the Second World War. She had passed her training a few months before war was declared. She nursed a few men after the evacuation of Dunkirk. She never liked assisting in the operating theatre, instead preferring to be on the wards. Aunt Ethel looked back fondly at the laugher intertwined with the hardships she faced with her colleagues. The camaraderie amongst her colleagues is, she said, what truly helped to nurse poorly soldiers back to life. Being a nurse is what made my aunt the resilient figurehead we loved and respected.
In 1914 my great-grandmother Gladys was 24. She decided to help with the war effort and became a VAD. She had never left wales but after her training she was sent to Camberwell in London. My grandad (her only son) always said they only thing she didn’t like about London was the food. Wartime rationing was hard but she said she was glad that chocolate was always in supply. Working in the hospital was hard, the few letters we have of hers talk of how tired she was the whole time. As a VAD she spent most of her time sterilising the operating theatre and apply fresh dressings to the patients. Her letters say most of the men had wounds of some kind, most of them in the back or stomach. Gladys was eventually moved to Worcester where she remained until the end of the war. By 1919 she was back in Wales. She married her fiancé, my great-grandad William. He had lost a leg in the war, and Gladys spent the rest of her life nursing him.