Jump to content
Free downloads from TNA ×
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

German nurse's humanity


EastSurrey

Recommended Posts

Poking around in 'Burnt Records' as you may do, you can come across all sorts. In those for Pte.William Butcher,9th East Surrey, born Putney in 1897, I found a translation of the German report of his death. He died of a septic fever, having suffered a gunshot wound, causing a compound fracture of the thigh, before he was captured at Chaulnes in March 1918, during the Great Retreat.Whilst I have seen some before, this notification includes a report by Sister Marth Braun of the R. Prussian Reserve Hosp. IV at Trier, Mosel,dated 23 August 1918-'Butcher arrived here severely wounded. In spite of his sufferings which he bore with great patience he was always pleasant to his comrades. At times one felt that his thoughts were with his dear ones at home. He died at 6 a.m. on the 23.8.18, peacefully, without a struggle.'

Michael

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was very normal for German hospital staff to treat the British (and French and other) wounded just as they treated German wounded. One may apparently find this very strange nowadays (probably because of the propaganda depicting the Germans as very bad people).

I am working on hospital diaries and I have found plenty of very interesting stories about how Germans tried to help wounded and sick "enemy" soldiers and civilians.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My sister has been a nurse for many yrs.. I think most who choose this profession do so from a desire to help & heal & comfort the sick & injured regardless of the status or anything else of the patient. I'm not surprised at all at the kindness & care for the "enemy" in these hospitals. My sister said when I asked her about this that when she has a patient, the only "enemy" is the illness, pain & suffering of her patient & that her sole concern is to defeat that enemy.

That German nurse certainly took her job seriously & he died knowing he was cared for by a kind woman. A very touching story. Thanks for sharing it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm sure there were many similar incidents of kindness to enemy wounded on both sides, but it's nice when you find some evidence to show this.

Michael

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A relative, a corporal in 7 Buffs, kept a diary that describes his treatment after being wounded and captured on 23rd March 1918. He tells how after capture he was sent on a working party carrying shells to a dump. Later, a French doctor at a dressing station made him stay there over night to have his wound dressed.

He was transported by light railway with other wounded men, French, German and English, first to a hospital at Stenay where some Germans gave them tobacco and talked to them, and then on to Germany by Red Cross train where they had dinner and tea on board.

At Wiesbaden the German wounded were taken to a local hospital and the English and French to a prison hospital. They had baths, change of clothing, and then into wards of about 50 beds. Breakfast and dinner in bed, but a long wait for a doctor to dress wounds.

His wound was painful, sleep difficult, food not very good, he sold some of his kit to get money for tobacco. Eventually, after 10 days, an x-ray revealed no pieces of bullet left in wound and it began to get better.

The food situation improved when the French, who were receiving food from home, shared with all the other prisoners.

The diary tells of food shortages and poor quality, vaccinations and inoculations, selling his boots to buy tobacco, his belt for food!

Most of the French prisoners were moved away and the source of extra food diminished so there was much scrounging for food - mangle leaves and potatoes to make soup.

Left hospital on 3rd June but re-admitted to the infirmary on 23rd June suffering from flu. Several days there are no entries in the diary. Fortunately food parcels from home began to arrive and his mates brought their rations in and fed him. He left hospital 31st July.

There is no mention of ill treatment in the diary, but the main complaints were about the lack of food and tobacco. I have the impression that at this time of the war (1918) the Germans themselves were also suffering from food shortages.

TARA

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have in my researches come across few examples of ill treatment while in hospital, and in the care of trained nurses.

However it is worth noting that the Report on the Transfer of British Prisoners to Germany August - December 1914 cites numerous examples of women in Red Cross uniforms treating prisoners

very badly.

The number and consistency of these Reports provide compelling evidence, but as in England all sorts of women wore Red Cross style uniforms without them being Nurses

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...