Monday, 24 November 2008

Sisters in Arms

Sisters in Arms by Nicola Tyrer is a book I've been looking forward to reading for a little while. It tells the story of the nurses in the Queen Alexandra Royal Army Nursing Corps, as it became after World War 2. One of the reasons for my interest is that my mother was in the service during the war, ( when it was known as Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service)and saw service in North Africa and Italy, where she met and married my father. The book describes the tented hospitals my mother mentioned, when asked about her time in the war, and also describes some of the events in Naples, where my mother helped nurse a typhoid epidemic. My father was in the Royal Corps of Signals, and they met at a party in a palace in Rome, according to my mother. They married in April 1945, and spent a brief honeymoon in Sorrento. The picture is of them on their wedding day, both in uniform as were all their guests.

Nicola Tyrer's book is well researched, covering all areas of the world where Army nurses saw service, including the defeats at Hong Kong and Singapore when the Japanese overran those places. It certainly filled in some of the gaps in my mothers stories of the time she spent in the Army, nursing, as like many of her generation she didn't tell her children too much about what she did in the war. It would be a worthwhile read for anyone interested in nursing, women's roles duringWorld War Two, or the war generally.

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