Great War Accounts

The Nursing Services during the Great War



     All the accounts included here come from previously unpublished sources held at The National Archives, Kew.  The documents are Crown Copyright, and may be used freely for publication as long as their origin is clearly stated and acknowledged, and actual images of the originals - photocopies or photographs - are not used.  They are items which are rarely looked at, but they contain a wealth of detail not available elsewhere, and provide one of the few primary sources of information about the lives and work of military nurses, both trained and untrained, during the war years.  I have done all the transcriptions myself, and though aiming for perfection [!], there could well be the occasional typographical error that has gone unnoticed, and if used for research purposes, it may be wise to consult the original to ensure 100% accuracy.  I have corrected any obvious spelling mistakes, which were few, and it has not been possible to faithfully reproduce some of the formatting of the original typescript, but the content is unchanged. There has been a minor amount of standardisation of abbreviations and punctuation, some of which varies in the original text.

     The majority of these Great War accounts were written by the Matron-in-Chief with the British Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders, Dame Maud McCarthy.  She left for France on August 13th 1914, and retained her post throughout the war, finally returning to England in July 1919.  Before she left her office in Boulogne for the last time, she wrote a series of summing up reports on many aspects of the nursing services, and also on each of the overseas services who had worked alongside the British throughout the war.  They are written as official War Office reports, and she makes no attempt to colour them with personal reflection or feelings;  it seems quite certain that much is left unsaid out of professionalism and diplomacy, but it does leave the fun of trying to read between many of the lines! 

     These documents are so full of interest, and richly deserve to see the light of day after ninety years on a shelf, and I found enormous pleasure in reading and transcribing them - so much has been destroyed from that era, and it's fortunate that these have been saved. If you intend to reproduce any of the content on these pages, in any form, can I ask that you cite the original source which will be clearly given at the top of each page.  In addition, though not compulsory, I would also appreciate acknowledgement of my own part in the transcription and publication of the documents.

Please use the links below, or the left-hand menu, to navigate your way through the pages

Ambulance Trains
Australian Army Nursing Service
Australian Casualty Clearing Stations
Canadian Army Medical Corps Nursing Service
Casualty Clearing Stations
Convalescent Homes for Nursing Staff
Decorations and Honours
New Zealand Army Nursing Service
Nurses' Clubs in France
Queen Alexandra's Military Nursing Service for India
South African Military Nursing Service
United States Army Nurse Corps
Harvard Unit and Chicago Unit