‘I had my right arm under a leg, which I thought was [the patient’s], but when I lifted it I found to my horror that it was a loose leg with a boot and a puttee on it. It was one of the orderly’s legs which had been blown off and had landed on the patient’s bed. The next day they found the trunk about 20 yards away.’
When Australian and New Zealand men went to fight in the Great War, they entered the pages of Australia’s history, rightly earning the tag of heroes. But wherever the men fought, there were also women, bravely risking their lives to tend the wounded, the ill and the dying. Few modern day Australians are aware of the extraordinary courage and compassion shown by these women, who have been largely forgotten.
The Other Anzacs is an in depth account of the lives and contribution of the nurses who volunteered to go to war and provide nursing support to not just Australian and New Zealand troops, but also to the wounded from other Allied nations, and even enemy soldiers. Using the unpublished diaries, letters and photographs of these women, as well as carefully researched facts, author Peter Rees provides not just a history of these women, but an insight into their emotions and sacrifices as he provides their firsthand accounts of the war. With approximately 3000 Australian and New Zealand women having served during the war, and forty-five killed and over two hundred decorated for their service, this is an important piece of our history which must be preserved. Rees is ensuring this by not only documenting it, but also making it accessible.
An important, informing and engrossing book.
The Other Anzacs, by Peter Rees
Allen & Unwin, 2008
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