First World War nursing stories to go online

With the help of a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Royal College of Surgeons is creating a new online resource showcasing the long-lost stories of nine nurses from the First World War.

By digitising personal scrapbooks and diaries, the project will build a bridge across the past century, connecting the stories of WW1 nurses to the tales of those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Using the nurses’ own words, sketches and photographs, the resource will reveal the true stories of defence nurses past and present, shining a light on unsung heroes of the nursing profession.

The project coincides with the RCN’s first ever defence nursing exhibition, taking place from April to September 2017.

Registered nurse, published poet and performer Molly Case will feature as writer in residence during this time, drawing inspiration from nursing stories to create new material, whilst teaching creative writing workshops to nursing staff and the general public.

Sarah Chaney, RCN Audience Engagement Manager, said: 'This unique project will breathe new life into long-archived artefacts.

'These diaries and scrapbooks reveal so much about the nurses who created them, and it will be fascinating to uncover what life was like for those caring for others during the First World War.

'This is about more than history, it is about storytelling, which is why we’re so excited to welcome Molly Case as our first ever writer in residence.

'As a nurse and poet she can draw together the intricacies of nursing with the magic of words to inspire a whole new generation of nursing stories.'