Towards the end of this year I’ve been trying to educate myself a bit about Navy Nurses. I read a wonderful book by Emily Mayhew called “Wounded” that talks about Army nurses during World War I. In fact, World War I opened up so many opportunities for women. In 1917 when the US entered World War I there were only 160 Navy Nurses, and by 1918 there were 1550. Many of these women were loaned to the Army because of a shortage of nurses on the Western Front, and so many Navy nurses served in France in particular. I am a French historian, so that interests me in particular. I have included a picture here taken on the USS Pocahontas en route to France in 1918 featuring 4 Navy nurses.
The holidays are here and I’m sure we are all very busy with family plans and activities. I wanted to take a moment out of my schedule to wish all members of the Society for the History of Navy Medicine a wonderful holiday season. As I think more and more about the centennial commemoration of World War I, I often think of the Christmas Eve Truce which occurred 100 Years ago tomorrow night. It is commonly told that on that evening British and German troops put down their arms and began singing carols, eventually visiting each other and playing soccer. A similar truce was held on the Eastern Front.
Our Society is made up of people of all backgrounds. I wish everyone Happy Holidays and hope you have a wonderful Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas or whatever celebration you enjoy this time of year.
Annette Finley-Croswhite, Ph.D. Executive Director
Photo from the Naval History and Heritage Commmand, NHH 82963