Dorothea’s War : A First World War Nurse Tells Her Story
by Dorothea Crewdson, Richard Crewdson
Editor: Orion Publishing Co
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The diaries of a young nurse stationed in northern France during the First World War, published for the first time, are evocative.A rare glimpse of the Great War for lovers of CALL THE MidwifeIn April 1915, Dorothea Crewdson, newly formed of the nurse’s Red Cross, and her best friend Christie, received instructions to leave for Le Tréport in northern France.Enthusiastically filled with the prospect of her first paid job, Dorothea began writing a diary.”Who knows how long we really need to be hereSeems like a good chance for all campaign reports to be completed before the winter, but everything is uncertainDorothea would go to the testimony and recording of some of the worst tragedy of the First World War at hand, although somewhat always maintaining her optimism, curiosity and cheerfulness throughout her life.The pages of her diary of the radiance with warmth and humour, as she tells it to the day by day the realities and frustrations of nursing care near the front line, in the battlefields, or the pleasure of a beautiful sunset, or a journey of “the joy of horseback riding” in the French countryside on one of her precious days off.One day, she may find it hard for her fellow nurses, or confess to writing her diary, while on the quarter of the parish, or illustrating the scene of the tents collapsing around them on a windy night in one of her vivid sketches.In another entrance, she describes the collection of shells from the beds the room after a terrifying air raid (winning a medal for her acts of bravery in the process)Nearly a hundred years old, what shines above all the pages of these suggestive diaries is a courageous, fiery, compassionate young woman, whose story is all the more poignant because of her tragic and premature end to the end of the war just before she was back home.
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