In recognition of the 1st World War Commemorations starting in 2014, the Museum of East Anglian Life is pleased to announce plans to host the touring exhibition ‘Everybody’s Darling – the First World War Nurse’ in Abbot’s Hall.
During the First World War thousands of women served at home and overseas as nurses. This exhibition reveals the essential role that they fulfilled – a role which has often gone unrecognised.
Many women worked in one of the hundreds of military hospitals at home caring for the vast numbers of injured servicemen. Others worked on the Western and Eastern fronts, in casualty clearing stations and field hospitals close to the battle lines. They were closer to the front-line than in any previous conflict, working up to twenty hours a day often during heavy periods of fighting. Conditions were hazardous and gruelling and many nurses died on active service.
The exhibition will include many original artefacts including a poignant autograph book belonging to a nurse working at All Hallows Hospital, Ditchingham. Containing many messages of thanks and best wishes for the future, verses and poems and cartoons and drawings by wounded soldiers, it adds a very personal element to the exhibition.
In contrast to the realities on the battlefield, an idealised, romantic image of the nurse was frequently used for propaganda purposes during the war. The nurse tending an injured serviceman became an iconic image of the time and a range of such prints and illustrations complete the display.
Museum Curator, Lisa Harris says, “Being a rural life museum we are aware that the majority of our displays focus on the roles of men in the countryside. However, we hope that this exhibition will help draw out the hidden stories of the courageous, unsung heroines of the Great War both at home and overseas”.