Forthcoming titles

(Book titles are subject to change)

Algernon Blackwood's Shorter Supernatural Fiction (2 vols.)

Terrys Texas Rangers

The Last Crusaders

The Defeat of the U-Boats

Sup Richard Middleton

The Battle of Austerlitz

The Campaigns of Alexander

Sabre and Foil Fighting

The Fourth Leonaur Book of Ghost and Horror Stories

The Irish Legion

General Von Zieten

Armoured Cars and Aircraft

The Chinese Regiment

Texas Cavalry and the Laurel Brigade

The First Crusaders

The Lionheart and the Third Crusade

The Winnebagos

Roger Lamb and the American War of Independence

Gronow of the Guards

Plumer of Messines

... and more

Field Hospital and Flying Column

enlarge Click on image to enlarge
enlarge Mouse over the image to zoom in
Field Hospital and Flying Column
Qty:     - OR -   Add to Wish List

Also available at:

Amazon Depository Wordery

Author(s): Violetta Thurstan
Date Published: 2011/09
Page Count: 112
Softcover ISBN-13: 978-0-85706-620-6
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-0-85706-619-0

The women of the Red Cross at war

The author of this book, Violetta Thurston was a trained Red Cross volunteer senior administrator and nurse sent to Belgium by the organisation in the early days of the First World War in charge of a party of British nurses expecting to assist wounded British soldiers. Instead, they arrived to find the country on the brink of collapse and the roads around the capital clogged with refugees fleeing the combat zone. They had just arrived in Brussels when the German Army marched in, ostensibly passing through, but in reality establishing its presence and becoming their first patients. Soon, and to her relief, Violetta moved to a hospital at Charleroi nursing the wounded irrespective of nationality. After a return to Brussels she was sent to Copenhagen in Denmark and then to the eastern front and the Red Cross operations in Warsaw, Poland before moving on towards Lodz—which was at that time under bombardment with the so called Red Cross ‘Flying Column.’ Working among Russian troops on the front lines Violetta and her team from the ‘flying Column’ moved into the trenches at Radzivlow where they undertook their difficult and humane work in close proximity to the German line and under constant firing. This book gives readers an insight into the work of the members of the Red Cross during the Great War and illustrates the work that brave women undertook in most trying and dangerous conditions.
Leonaur editions are newly typeset and are not facsimiles; each title is available in softcover and hardback with dustjacket.

Before we had time to unpack our dressings, a messenger arrived to tell us that the Germans had succeeded in enfilading a Russian trench close by, and that they were bringing fifty very badly wounded men to us almost at once. We had just time to start the sterilizer when the little carts began to arrive with some terribly wounded men. The machine guns had simply swept the trench from end to end. The worst of it was that some lived for hours when death would have been a more merciful release. Thank God we had plenty of morphia with us and could thus ease their terrible sufferings.<br>
One man had practically his whole face blown off, another had all his clothes and the flesh of his back all torn away. Another poor old fellow was brought in with nine wounds in the abdomen. He looked quite a patriarch with a long flowing beard—quite the oldest man I have seen in the Russian army. Poor Ivan, he had only just been called up to the front and this was his first battle. He was beautifully dressed, and so clean; his wife had prepared everything for him with such loving care, a warm knitted vest, and a white linen shirt most beautifully embroidered with scarlet in a intricate key-pattern. Ivan was almost more unhappy at his wife’s beautiful work having to be cut than at his own terrible wounds. He was quite conscious and not in much pain, and did so long to live even a week or two longer, so that he might see his wife once again. But it was not to be, and he died early the next morning—one of the dearest old men one could ever meet, and so pathetically grateful for the very little we could do for him.<br>
The shells were crashing over our heads and bursting everywhere, but we were too busy to heed them, as more and more men were brought to the dressing-station. It was an awful problem what to do with them: the house was small and we were using the two biggest rooms downstairs as operating- and dressing-rooms. Straw was procured and laid on the floors of all the little rooms upstairs, and after each man’s wounds were dressed he was carried with difficulty up the narrow winding staircase and laid on the floor.<br>
The day wore on and as it got dark we began to do the work under great difficulties, for there were no shutters or blinds to the upstairs windows, and we dared not have any light—even a candle—there, as it would have brought down the German fire on us at once. So those poor men had to lie up there in the pitch dark, and one of us went round from time to time with a little electric torch. Downstairs we managed to darken the windows, but the dressings and operations had all to be done by candle-light.<br>
The Germans were constantly sending up rockets of blue fire which illuminated the whole place, and we were afraid every moment they would find us out. Some of the shells had set houses nearby on fire too, and the sky was lighted up with a dull red glow. The carts bringing the men showed no lights, and they were lifted out in the dark when they arrived and laid in rows in the lobby till we had time to see to them. By nine o’clock that evening we had more than 300 men, and were thankful to see an ambulance train coming up the line to take them away. The sanitars had a difficult job getting these poor men downstairs and carrying them to the train, which was quite dark too. But the men were thankful themselves to get away, I think—it was nerve-racking work for them, lying wounded in that little house with the shells bursting continually over it.<br>
All night long the men were being brought in from the trenches. About four in the morning there was a little lull and someone made tea. I wonder what people in England would have thought if they had seen us at that meal. We had it in the stuffy dressing-room where we had been working without a stop for sixteen hours with tightly closed windows, and every smell that can be imagined pervading it, the floor covered with mud, blood and débris of dressings wherever there were not stretchers on which were men who had just been operated on. The meal of milkless tea, black bread, and cheese, was spread on a sterilized towel on the operating-table, illuminated by two candles stuck in bottles.
You may also like