11 November 2008

Edith Appleton's diary

Edith Appleton was my friend Dick Robinson's Great Aunt. Born in 1877, the tenth of thirteen children, she went on to spend many years nursing, including five years service during WWI when she served on the front lines in France.

Edith's diary is a fascinating insight into the daily lives of the medical staff on the front lines, and how bravely these men and women dealt with the horrors of war.

There are some parts which made me smile, like Edith's joy at having a bath - something we all take for granted these days:

"I don’t fancy bathing in company, but as I have not sat in water deeper than 1 inch since last year the temptation to go is great."

"Up to our necks in water - glorious! The first time for months and months! A dear old nun came trotting in when I was in my bath, felt to see the water was right heat, thought the bath was too full and pulled the plug by a patent in the floor, I was sitting on the hole where the water runs away and was sucked hard into it!"

Edith was awarded several medals for her service, and photographs of them can be found on the website. There's a couple of medals that Dick cannot identify, so if anyone can help, please let him know - his contact details are on the site.

I am very pleased that Dick has published these diaries and I look forward to listening to him talk about them on Radio 4 this afternoon.

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