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Christine E. Hallett

women; and here they differ from male narratives. While the writings of men tell of being led up to the war front and held there either to survive or to be dragged into and destroyed by the war machine, for those female writers not attached to ‘official’ services, flight was possible and could occur at almost any time. Memoirs such as Violetta Thurstan’s Field Hospital and Flying Column have this tone. They are about freedom, not captivity. Nurses who avoided ‘official’ enlistment, and offered their services, instead, to ‘freelance’ hospital units or to Red Cross

in Nurse Writers of the Great War
Open Access (free)
Christine E. Hallett

, her brother, and two close friends – it was also written for those women who had served in wartime, to ensure that the female voice would be heard, and that one particular feminine perspective would be understood. Enid Bagnold: military medicine as part of the ‘war machine’ If some wartime nurse writers may be viewed as ‘heretics’ – as individuals who attacked the received wisdom of their day – then Enid Bagnold is perhaps one of the most skilful and least openly aggressive of these. Her soft irony and quiet observations evoke a more muted form of horrified

in Nurse Writers of the Great War
Christine E. Hallett

the insult of our curiosity and the curse of our purpose, the purpose to remake him.’66 The scenario is not only reminiscent of rape – full of what Trudi Tate refers to as ‘eroticised horror’67 – it is also an affront against humanity ‘en masse’: the repair of one small element of a larger war machine, the purpose of which is not to restore a human being but, rather, to remake a component. What is most disturbing is the patients’ gratitude: ‘When we hurt them they try not to cry out, not wishing to hurt our feelings. And often they apologise for dying.’68 Hazel

in Nurse Writers of the Great War
Christine E. Hallett

’Serclaes, Flanders and Other Fields: 62–3. 10 T’Serclaes, Flanders and Other Fields: 66–7. 11 T’Serclaes, Flanders and Other Fields: 69. 12 Arthur Gleason and Helen Hayes Gleason, Golden Lads:  A  Thrilling Account of How the Invading War Machine Crushed Belgium (New York: A. L. Burt, 1916). 13 T’Serclaes, Flanders and Other Fields: 78–9. 14 Baroness de T’Serclaes, MS diary; 9029-2, Imperial War Museum, London. 15 T’Serclaes, Flanders and Other Fields: 63–4. 163 Professional women 16 Claire Tylee: The Great War and Women’s Consciousness: Images of Militarism and Womanhood in

in Nurse Writers of the Great War