CSHHH Seminar, Prof. Christine Hallett, ‘Argonauts of the Eastern Mediterranean: Military Nurses in Bases and Hospital Ships, 1915-1918’

The Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare (CSHHH), Glasgow Caledonian University

The first CSHHH seminar of 2015 will be on 4th February when we welcome Professor Christine Hallett of Manchester University at 4:30 pm (4pm for refreshments) in the Centre for Executive Education, room 07 (CEE07) on the GCU Campus. A brief abstract is below. All are welcome!

‘Argonauts of the Eastern Mediterranean: Military nurses in bases and hospital ships, 1915-1918′

From the earliest months of the First World War, thousands of British and Dominion women offered their services as nurses or volunteer-nurses.  Many were anxious to prove their worth as professional women, but others were motivated by a desire to travel and experience both challenge and adventure.  For many, their expectations were met.  War-service enabled them to travel further than they had believed possible and to encounter not only clinical but also practical challenges, such as life in tented hospitals or on-board hospital ships.  Some of the most remarkable journeys were taken by members of the Australian Army Nursing Service many of whom served in Egypt, on hospital ships in the Mediterranean, on the Island of Lemnos, in Salonika, and then in England and Northern France.  They were amongst the few nurses who served both in the Eastern Mediterranean and on the Western Front.  British and Dominion women volunteered in their thousands to work in the dangerous scenarios of the First World War.  Some wrote memoirs of their experiences, in which they found meaning in their journeys (both geographical and spiritual).  The particular focus of the paper will be on those who were posted to hospital ships and general hospitals in the Eastern Mediterranean.  The paper argues that most viewed their war-service as a personal quest, or mission, not only to serve what they saw as a ‘just cause’, but also to challenge themselves both as human beings and as female actors on a world stage.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *