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Remembered Today:

The Hard-Faced Diana in "England Their England": Was she inspired by a real person?


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England Their England (1933 - AG MacDonell), is probably best known for the chapter about the cricket match. There is a good chapter where Donald, the hero goes to watch a fox hunt.

A number of characters in the book are believed to have been base on/ inspired by real people. See: https://web.archive.org/web/20070815233912/http://www.rbd26.dial.pipex.com/agm_ete.htm

There is a remarkable description of a lady in the fox hunt chapter (The only time she is mentioned.)

"Donald heard no more, for at that moment the shoulder of a horse took him neatly in the small of the back and knocked him into the hedge. The woman who was riding never even glanced in his direction. She was about fifty years of age and her mouth and jaw were resolute and her eye unwavering, and Donald recognised her at once as one of the nurses in a hospital near Hazebrouck in Flanders in which he had had measles. One pouring wet night when the hospital, which by an unfortunate mischance had been placed immediately beside a large ammunition dump, was bombed by German aircraft, this hard-faced Diana carried out seven wounded officers from a burning ward into which the stretcher bearers refused to go, rigged up a shelter for them from the rain, and boiled tea for them by the light of the blazing huts, to the accompaniment of a full orchestra of machine-guns, anti-aircraft artillery, bombs, pattering splinters, and screams and groans. And on another occasion she held the icy hand of a dying subaltern for twenty seven hours. And on another she told the Matron what she thought of her."

Can anyone suggest who (if anyone) might have inspired the "Hard-Faced Diana"?


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