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J Banning

Sister KE Luard RRC, QAIMNSR

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J Banning

I have been reading extracts from ‘Unknown Warriors’ - Extracts of letters from KE Luard R.R.C. Nursing Sister in France 1914 -1918 by Chatto and Windus 1930 pertaining to events in April 1917. These extracts are reproduced in ‘The Great War…I Was There’ so I’m afraid I haven’t got the actual book (otherwise I could answer my question myself).

I would be most interested to know her exact whereabouts during the extracts from 23-28 April 1917. She is dealing with the casualties from the fighting at Arras but I have no idea which CCS or hospital she was in. If anyone has the book, I’d be most grateful for this information.

Any help gratefully appreciated.

Jeremy

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Sue Light

Jeremy

I have it. The book doesn't actually name the locations, but most are fairly easy to work out on a thorough reading. However, I do have digital images from her service record, including a copy of her AFB103, with her locations and dates. I'll get back to you this evening when I've been released from purgatory!

Sue

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J Banning

That is most kind Sue. Looking forward to hearing from you later.

Jeremy

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Sue Light

Jeremy

Here is one side of her AFB103 which shows she was at No.32 Casualty Clearing Station at Warlencourt.

Kate Luard AFB103

What a great nurse Kate Luard was - one of those women who, even having written two volumes of wartime memoirs, has received very littlel publicity over the years. Born in 1872, she served with the Army Nursing Service Reserve during the Boer War, and then having been mobilised during the first week of the Great War, she went straight to France, serving on the Western Front until her resignation in December 1918 due to the critical illness of her father. She was never a member of the regular QAIMNS service, and remained on the Reserve, but already known to the senior nursing staff from her time in South Africa she was singled out both for her nursing ability and her personal qualities, and was often posted to the most forward medical units, and worked under the most trying conditions. Her writings show her as always outwardly cool and calm, willing to adapt to anything, anywhere, and carrying out her daily duties with unfaltering composure and dedication to the patients she nursed. She was one of only a tiny number of women to be awarded a Bar to her Royal Red Cross, normally the realm of the members of the Regular QAIMNS, and a sure sign that her work did not go unnoticed by those in high places. So much publicity seems to be conferred on those few nurses who died during the war, while the service of unassuming women like Kate Luard, which was on a grand scale, often passes by virtually unnoticed. She was truly the ultimate 'worker bee' of nurses during the Great War.

Sue

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J Banning

This is just what I needed to know! Luard certainly sounds a fascinating character. I do agree that it is strange that she is not better known.

Many thanks for this info and the PM (to which I have just responded).

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Simon Jones

Thanks from me too!

S

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Sue Light

I might as well complete the AFB103. What's rather odd is that this does not cover her entire service, and unfortunately doesn't show the locations of her service on first arriving in France, nor of her Ambulance Train service, which she writes about in 'Diary of a Nursing Sister on the Western Front' (published anonymously by William Blackwood, 1915, and widely available to read on the internet), although many of these units/locations can be worked out from her text. It's a good example though of the number of moves that some of the women had during the war.

Kate Luard AFB103 reverse

Sue

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mick1234

Sue,

I have just across this thread, so you may be able to answer this question. In her book 'Diary of a Nursing Sister on the Western Front' Where was Kate Luard based when she recorded in her Diary the casualties at Festubert, May 1915 ?.

Thankyou in advance

rgds

Mick

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Sue Light

Mick

I have her service record here, but there seems to be a conspiracy to stop us ever finding out as her A.F.B.103, though present in her file, doesn't start until she goes to a Base Hospital at the end of that book (June 1915). So although she mobilised on 4th August 1914, and was one of the first nurses into France, her early movements are not recorded officially. I've tried to work it out before, and looking through my copy of the book I've added a note by that chapter and the one before which says 'Is this No.4 Field Ambulance, Bethune?' I think almost certainly it is Bethune, but cannot be sure about which F.A. as there were half a dozen in the town at the time, and more nearby.

Sue

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mick1234

Thanks Sue, I am trying to work out the casuality evac chain for casualities from the battle of Festubert. My Grandfather was wounded on the 18th May whilst serving with the Irish Guards and I agree with your superior knowledge of that Bethune sounds very likely.I would love to hear if you have any more knowledge on the above evacuation chain.

Rgds

Mick

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royalredcross

I don't think the AFB 103 was used for any of the nurses until late 1915 or 1916, except to record the first hospital or unit posted to. I have noticed that almost all the nurses I have looked at have this gap in the record.

Unless, of course, it's a Territorial nurse when you are lucky to find anything at all. I could cheerfully strangle whoever it was who weeded the TFNS files.

Norman

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David Filsell

Sue,

Thanks for the information. I have had a copy of Diary of a Nursing Sister for many years. It is tatty, broken backed and stained - not unlike me - but much loved.i think it a splendid book.

David

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Dust Jacket Collector

I have both of Miss Luard's books, but I shall certainly be buying this one as well. Sounds like some fascinating additional material.

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Guest colcourt

I have just discovered this thread and thought I would add that many of the Luard family letters including those from Kate are held at the Essex Record Office - you can search their catalogue online at http://seax.essexcc.gov.uk/ to see what they hold.

Sarah

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seaforths

I visited the Essex Archives some time ago. I was doing a visit to Kew and managed to get in a flying visit there too. It's a bit complicated but I bought a copy of 'Unknown Warriors' and pasted inside the book was an envelope containing a letter purported to be from KE Luard to the person that originally bought the book all those years ago. The lady that bought the book lived in America and the letter is very frank and open and she is responding to a letter written to her from the woman in America. I visited the archives on the off-chance that I might locate the letter from the woman in America, to which she had responded. I wasn't disappointed, I found the woman's letter and so much more about this amazing lady. I also now know that the letter is indeed bona fide.

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Pompey

Hi Sue,

did you know that Kate, known to her friends and family by her middle name Evelyn, was the sister of Lt Col Frank Luard the CO of Portsmouth Battalion RMLI who was killed at Gallipoli in July 1915

Regards

Pompey

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