My review, also posted on Amazon US & UK and Goodreads
Kate Luard was in her forties in 1914 with experience of nursing during the Second Boer War when she enlisted in the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserve on August 6, 1914, two days after war was declared.
She served in France & Belgium until 1918, first on the ambulance trains and then in Casualty Clearing Stations. She was awarded the RRC (Royal Red Cross) and Bar (rare distinction) and was twice mentioned in Dispatches for gallant and distinguished service in the field. The book tells her remarkable story through her own war diary and the prolific amount of letters to her family at home.
One of 13 children, Kate came from a loving and close-knit family. She wasn’t a dewy eyed young girl shocked or overwhelmed by her experiences and what she was witnessing as some First World War nurses have been depicted in recent TV drama. This is really how it was and the family of Kate Luard have done a remarkable job in re-publishing Unknown Warriors, first published in 1930, now virtually impossible to obtain a copy of and this book includes an extra chapter.
Kate Luard was without doubt a talented writer. The book is so rich in descriptive detail, making it a most fascinating read. The scarcity of diaries or accounts written by trained military nurses during the 14-18 conflict means that this a rare and quite unique record chronicling the events of the lives, work and off duty of nurses on the Western Front.
Anyone studying or researching the war would find this book to be an invaluable read and it should be on the required reading list for any student of First World War history, either in school or higher education.
I was really honoured to be given a copy of the book by the publishers, in exchange for an honest review.