First World War Album of Soldiers' Poems

Contributed by Mary Anne Massey

First World War Album of Soldiers' Poems

The events of First World War began major changes in British social structure. This rather faded, handwritten book belonged to my grandmother who came from a small town in South Wales. We tend to think mainly of the men who served in the war. My sisters and I discovered that, our grandmother, Sister Nan Jones had been in France throughout the war; from 1914 - 1919. She returned to Britain only on twice yearly leave and then left the peace of her home in Wales to go back to the Casualty Clearing Stations, hospital trains and makeshift wards in large French houses. To distract her patients she gave them her album and requested a poem, a drawing or just a few words. The photo is of just one soldier's contribution. Many soldiers only wrote their name, regiment, injury and the battle they suffered in. others produced amazing poetry. The book is a reminder of the horror and suffering of the war and also of the change in women's lives brought about by their bravery and also the work and responsibility they undertook during the war. Sister Jones returned to be matron of a hospital in Cornwall and to marry but also to continue to work in the community as a magistrate and Red Cross member.

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