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In 1912, Norland children’s nurse Kate Fox was travelling by train heading to the British military station at Nowshera on the Afghan border to care for the premature baby born to the base’s commanding officer. Two years later, Kate was escaping from Germany in the first days of the Great War, leaving behind her adored German royal charges and all her personal possessions.
Due to their prestige as the crème-de-la-crème of Edwardian children’s nurses to Europe’s royal and wealthy families, Kate was one among many Norland nannies who witnessed the early days of the War on the Continent with all its tumult and fear. Some fled for home; others managed to stay for a while. And yet others gave up their privileged way of life to undertake war work as nurses in Flanders and refugee camps.
The stories in this book are the nannies’ eye-witness accounts described in their correspondence with their beloved Norland Institute. These previously unpublished letters recount a version of women’s Great War history that has remained untold until now.
British Nannies and the Great War is the true story of a group of Edwardian, highly trained and opinionated women in the First World War. For the first time in a century, the Norland nannies’ unique stories of escape from enemy territory, their experiences at home and the Front during the War, and their thoughts on how the conflict changed their role in post-Edwardian Britain are told in their own words.
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