World War 1 Nurses The Western Front Humanities Essay

1432 words - 6 pages

World War One Western Front Australian Nurses
The Western Front in World War One was considered the “main theatre of war” (Dennis and Grey, 2014). With large numbers of casualties in from 1914-1917, Australian nurses did their part for Australia by providing their help and services to not only the soldiers on the battlefield, but the Australian society on the home front. The Western Front was situated in France and Belgium and many battles were fought over seven hundred kilometres along the Belgian coast to France/the Swiss border. These battles included the Battle of Ypres, the Battle of the Somme, the Third Battle of Ypres-Passchendaele and unfortunately many more. More than three thousand Australian nurses volunteered during World War One, many of whom joined to be closer to loved ones, for travel and for their love for their country. Not only did they serve on the battlefronts, but they worked in hospitals and ships all around the world. Many World War One Australian nurses on the Western Front, specifically the ones who received medals for their sacrifices, played significant roles that allowed them to contribute to the health and well-being of soldiers and consequently this positively impacted not only the soldiers in the war, but the Australian society.
In doing their part for Australia via providing their services, Australian nurses cared for and attended to the soldiers of the war even through the brutal conditions they had to work in. Whilst doing this work, many of these nurses suffered from injuries, diseases such as typhus and measles, and horrific infections (French, A Rose for the Anzac Boys, 2008, p. 272). Throughout the war, approximately sixty-thousand Australians died via illness or sustained injuries (Australian Government, Australians on the Western Front, November 2010). The Western Front resulted in forty-five thousand soldier casualties, making it the place where the majority of Australian soldiers died. This meaning many Australian nurses were deployed out onto the Western Front to attend to all the casualties. Thousands of women worked as nurses or volunteers and not only did women work on the battlefields, but on the home front too. Australian nurses, just like soldiers, put their lives on the line every day by keeping soldiers alive from the horrible injuries and illnesses they suffered from, by giving soldiers a helping hand and by doing everything in their power to keep their soldiers happy and healthy. Harold Williams, a wounded lieutenant in battle 1918 recalled (as cited by Australian War Memorial, Great War nurses, n.d.). “These women worked their long hours among such surroundings without collapsing spoke volumes for their will power and sense of duty… the nurses saw soldiers in their most pitiful state...” Although the importance of nurses cannot be measured in an exact way, without the Australian nurse’s contributions on Western Front, much larger numbers of casualties would have occurred, and a devastation...

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