‘You damn well just got on with your job’
Medical personnel and the invasion of Europe in the Second World War
in Working in a world of hurt
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The focus in this chapter is on front-line medical personnel, many of whom had volunteered to work with combat units and specifically examines the experiences of nurses and doctors who accompanied the invasion of Europe. Their writing played an important role in sustaining their resilience when confronted not only with mass casualties, but with being bombed and shelled themselves. Important to this discussion is the extent to which some medical personnel recorded private responses in their diaries that they themselves considered transgressive, as indeed was the very keeping of a diary. Diaries allowed them to articulate responses to the war and their immediate experience that did not fit the prevailing construction of it as a ‘good’ war. We examine these accounts in the context of a cultural environment that repressed emotion and affirmed an external show of resilience.

Working in a world of hurt

Trauma and resilience in the narratives of medical personnel in warzones


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