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Friday, March 7, 2014

World War I Army Nurses Serving in France

A group of photographs from the collection of my husband's grandfather includes images of the nurses who tended to the sick and injured servicemen of World War One.

Can you imagine what it must have been like?  Serving in a foreign land, tending to the injured soldiers, many of whom did not speak English, must have been very stressful.  These young women did their best to provide good medical care, while they were reminded that they were only appointed to the ANC, and did not receive the respect that male medics received.  

From the website : Women in the U.S. Army

The Army Nurse Corps

Army Nurse Corps recruiting poster


On April 6, 1917, the United States entered World War I. There were 403 nurses on active duty, including 170 reserve nurses who had been ordered to duty in twelve Army hospitals in Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico.
By 1918, more than 12,000 nurses were on active duty serving at 198 stations worldwide. In May 1917, six base (general) hospitals with more than 400 nurses sailed for France for service in the British Expeditionary Forces.
On Oct. 2, 1917, Gen. John J. Pershing sent a cabled request “for a competent member of the Nurse Corps” to supervise nursing activities in the American Expeditionary Forces. Bessie S. Bell, then Chief Nurse of Walter Reed General Hospital, reported to serve on Nov. 13, 1917.
Army Nurse preparing medicine
On May 25, 1918, the Army School of Nursing was authorized by the Secretary of War as an alternative to utilizing nurses’ aides in Army hospitals. Courses of instruction opened at several Army hospitals in July 1918. Annie W. Goodrich was appointed under contract as Chief Inspector Nurse for the Army; she became the first dean of the Army School of Nursing.
Army nurses during World War I did not have officer status. They were not commissioned, but appointed into the ANC. Medics sometimes refused to accept nurses’ authority on the wards. After the war, Congress, to show their appreciation, gave nurses officer status by allotting them “Relative Rank,” meaning that an Army nurse first lieutenant, for example, received less pay and status than a male first lieutenant.
As a sign of their valiant contribution in the Great War, Army nurses were awarded numerous medals – including the Distinguished Service Cross (an award ranked second only to the Medal of Honor).

1 comment:

  1. Your blog has given me that thing which I never expect to get from all over the websites. Nice post guys!

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