Saturday, 16 June 2012

Nurses war memorial, VADs etc

There is no national memorial that names nurses killed in the two world wars. For many people it was the writing of Vera Britten that first drew attention to the role of nurses especially in WW1 and this was further enhanced when in 1979 the BBC televised a dramatisation of her novel Testament of Youth with Cheryl Campbell in the lead role. There was a new edition of the book a few years back complete with an introduction by her daughter Shirley Williams. In 1981 Virago published an anthology of WW1 poetry written by women Scars upon my heart  the tittle of which was taken from a poem by Vera Britten written about her brother's death on the Italian front in 1916

A committee has now been formed to establish a Nursing Memorial at the National Arboretum in Staffordshire.Yvonne Mc Ewan an historian who has written widely about the contribution of nurses in the wars chairs this initiative. The RCN is backing the campaign amongst other groups and there is a petition on their website.

One of our Councillors, Bruce Hubbard who was a history teacher until he took up leading parties to the battlefield of WW1, impressed me recently by explaining why some WW1 memorials span the period 1914-19. I was not aware of the UK's involvement with White Russians post 1918. I suspect that most people are equally unaware of the contribution nurses made in WW1.

Your battle-wounds are scars upon my heart, 
Received when in that grand and tragic 'show' 
You played your part, 
Two years ago, ..................

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