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Dorothea's War: The Diaries of a First World War Nurse

Dorothea's War: The Diaries of a First World War Nurse [Kindle Edition]

Dorothea Crewdson , Richard Crewdson
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Product Description


This is a book of real charm and magnetism, enchantingly illustrated with Dorothea's tiny sketches... Dorothea describes her world with compassion, humour and a very sharp eye (Victoria Clark THE LADY)

a rare insight into the conflict that engulfed Europe from 1914 to 1918... [Crewdson] witnessed extraordinary events but her diaries sing with vibrant optimism and high-spirited observations, interspersed with charming illustrations... her impressions are compelling and these diaries enchant (THE FIELD)

a vivid account of the juxtapositions of war: long walks in the countryside, the hospitality of French farming families, flirting with the doctors, the icy blasts of winter in a bell tent where the nurses lived and which could blow away in a gale. And all the time an endless stream of convoys brought the wounded from the trenches a few miles away - from which the noise of gunfire and exploding shells echoed as a daily background to the work of the hospital... a fine addition to the growing literature on the multi-faceted experiences of the First World War (Juliet Gardiner THE TIMES)

an incredible insight into the working life of a nurse who 'patched up' the men who passed through the hospitals on their way to convalesce in 'good old Blighty' (YOUR FAMILY TREE)

In a similar vein to Vera Britten's Testament of Youth, chronicling the realities of war and military hospital life, this offers an insight into the battlefield, medicine and society. Most surprising is the calm approach that Dorothea brings to her work, her consistent good spirits and simple pleasures derived from a good meal or a trip into the French countryside (DISCOVERING BRITAIN)

the frank, moving diaries of a nurse who would witness and record some of the most horrific passages of the war and, tragically, would die just before she was about to return home from the battlefield (CHOICE)

The pages of [Dorothea Crewdson's] diary offer a rare glimpse of the incredible work of a nurse in this conflict and the view of the war from a female perspective (BRITAIN AT WAR)

Richard Crewdson has discovered a seam of gold for family historians: a continuous narrative by an ancestor who was involved in historic events... In this diary Dorothea describes four years of nursing with a spirited, gossipy tone, interspersed with weeks of fatigue and genuine danger...charming but harrowing (WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? magazine)

The single voice of a young nurse in World War I rings poignantly from the pages of this diary...Her bright, warm personality shines through as we read first-hand of her life employed in military hospitals and revel in the hand-drawn illustrations that punctuated her diary...This is an incredible legacy not only for her family but for all those with an interest in the work of women in World War I and her original diaries have now been donated to the Imperial War Museum (FAMILY TREE MAGAZINE)

Dorothea Crewdson spent nearly four years nursing in France during the First World War, her vibrant, effervescent diaries happily having come to light courtesy of her nephew...are a sparkling and intimate chronicle that manage to chart life's many challenges without ever losing any native optimism...her account of wartime life, enhanced by many of her own delightful pen-and-ink drawings, is a welcome addition to existing memoirs of the era (GOOD BOOK GUIDE)

an acute and engaging observation of all that was happening around her. There are accounts of her struggles to cope with the overwhelming tide of casualties and what life was like outside the wards... The diaries contain the brief self-deprecating note she made when she received the Military Medal for bravery during an enemy air raid, in which she continued to dress patients' wounds despite being injured herself... This beautiful book forms a fitting tribute (NURSING STANDARD)

The book gives a very good insight into the role of the VAD nurse in comforting and patching up the casualties on their way back to 'Blighty'. (STAND TO! The Western Front Association)

Frustrations of work, flirtations with doctors, gossip, the enjoyment of precious days off - reading about all of this helps to gain insight into what it was like to go through the First World War. This is a book that will fascinate many readers (CHURCH OF ENGLAND NEWSPAPER)

As well as seeing the constant dangers, difficulties and frequent heartbreak - although it is far from being all doom and gloom - we discover the warm, optimistic, good-humoured personality of a real heroine (THIS ENGLAND)

Book Description

The evocative diaries of a young nurse stationed in northern France during the First World War, published for the first time. A rare insight into the great war for fans of CALL THE MIDWIFE.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best 13 Jun 2013
This diary, sympathetically edited by the author's nephew Richard Crewdson, and accompanied throughout by Dorothea's own original drawings, covers the entire period of her wartime service as a VAD in France between June 1915 and March 1919. It charts her time at three separate military hospitals and describes VAD life in great detail introducing many friends, relatives, patients and colleagues. Very little is written elsewhere about the basic facts of a nurse's life in France, and there's a lot to be learnt here aboutliving arrangements, conditions of service, pay, ward work and above all about loyalty and friendship. Although sickness and death have a part in the book, they are not the main players.The introduction to the book makes no secret of the fact that Dorothea Crewdson's life was cut short, with her sudden death in France in March 1919 and the book ends with a letter written to Dorothea's mother by her Matron, Melina McCord. It's a heart-breaking tribute, guaranteed to bring tears to the eyes of all but the most dispassionate reader. The book informs and instructs, but more than that it shows that where loss, death and hardship exist, whether they be personal or professional, ways can always be found to deal with them. It makes essential reading for anyone with an interest in nursing, VADs and hospital life during the Great War. But be warned - have a handkerchief ready for the finale.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Facinating read! 14 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I originally saw this book on a shelf in the book shop and it caught my eye. I tracked it down later on Amazon for my Kindle. I thought it was well written, reminiscent of the time. You get a real feel of what life must have been like. Thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A readable war Diary 15 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very interesting and difficult to put down. A real insight into the sacrifice by so many young men and the real dedication of the young women who nursed them.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nursing the wounded 8 July 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A charming story of a volunteer nurse in the first world war, this book has none of the mud and blood horror of the trenches but is fascinating account of what life was like in the field hospitals set up in northern France. Tents blow away, night duty is dreaded, convoys of patients arrive and, when sufficiently recovered, are dispatched back to 'Blightly' ie England. If you want sex or adventure don't buy this book. A mild flirtation with a doctor, with a walk in the woods to pick wild flowers is the most you'll get. But if you are happy with a genuine account written up day by day, with delightful little sketches, and told entirely in her own words, by a young woman who dedicated the whole of her short adult life to caring for the wounded, this would be a gentle and moving read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting! 6 Oct 2013
By Lian
The book is brilliant. I wish this was how they taught history at schools. Definitely recommend the book if you like this kind of thing.
I'm not a book worm but I have been struggling to out this book down.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating for young and old alike 13 Feb 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A wonderful snapshot of a young woman's involvement in the First World War. All the more interesting as every word of it is true.
Richard Crewdson has done a marvellous job at editing and presenting his aunt's war diary.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating read 9 Jun 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a present day nurse I felt it was time to find out more about nursing in wartime.I also love diaries and found it hard to put the book down.There was so much detail about the everyday life of living and working so close to the front line with all the changes and upsets involved.The fact that Dorothea sadly didn't survive to go home just added to the poignancy and limitations of medicine in those times.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A very moving and insightful account of the experiences of women on the front line during the 1914 - 1918 War. It depicts the suffering of those fighting and shows how attitudes and treatments were carried out in the days before antibiotics were readily available and before the psychological illness were fully understood.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars History as it happened
A good record of how it was to be a WW1 nurse. Doesn't read like a story, it's a diary. Very descriptive of conditions at the military hospital for both soldiers and nurses. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Janice
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the unreal recent BBC series
Certainly shows the First World War nursing. Better than the unreal recent BBC series.
Published 12 days ago by Robert Blatchford
5.0 out of 5 stars The real "Crimson Field".
Very interesting insight into life in the tented hospitals of WWI. Answers questions like how did the nurses look after their hair? Read more
Published 27 days ago by Pamela Phelps-Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
I loved this book. It is a very interesting read if you have an interest in nursing in days gone by, my only criticism is that it was a bit repetitive but that didn't spoil my... Read more
Published 1 month ago by NightReader
5.0 out of 5 stars Intrigueing and thought provoking book
A most challenging book, giving a huge incite to the work, dangers, camaraderie and fun in the 'hospitals' well written and personal.
Published 1 month ago by Quiltslm
4.0 out of 5 stars dorotheas war
it is an interesting book but slow for reading as it is a diary you have to follow closely I like the little
drawings she had a hard job looking after the soldiers and she... Read more
Published 2 months ago by dark horse
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing!
Bought book with anticipation, having watched the Crimson Field, I thought the real thing would be really interesting it wasn't
Published 2 months ago by Mrs. Cf Jefferson
4.0 out of 5 stars A nurses diary 1914- 1918
At first I felt this was a jaunt for an upper class woman who mainly recorded her social life while serving as a nurse but soon the reality of the war takes over. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Lilian Edwards
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
A very interesting book giving a different view of WWI. Interesting details and footnotes gave fantastic facts. WAsnt quite the ending I expected...
Published 3 months ago by L. Talbot
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