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Battle of Verdun features in the diaries

With the centenary of the Battle of Verdun currently in the news it’s interesting to note that Edie does make references to it and it is possible that her hospital in Etretat was taking in casualties, including German wounded.

The battle was fought from 21 February to 18 December 1916, was one of the largest battles of the First World War on the Western Front between the German and French armies. The battle took place on the hills north of Verdun-sur-Meuse in north-eastern France. More about the battle here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/zydwtyc.

Here are a few extracts from May and June 1916, with the specific references shown in bold type:

May 23rd. Quiet & calm day. Half day off. ….. News of heavy fighting at Verdun & Suchez in last night’s paper.
I have just had a letter from an old patient of mine, telling me he is enjoying a month’s convalescence at a castle belonging to Lord Buccleuch in Dumfriesshire. They have the use of trout streams, tennis, bowls, croquet, golf and he says it is a glorious place. How kind of L. B. to lend it.

June 14th.  Took the half day yesterday. Walked to Villainville with Maxey.  It was a rather enjoyable grey day, windy going; but, as happened to us once before, on the way back a terrific rain storm swept over us when we were still 5 miles from home.  However we clung to our flowers and arrived after a time in an awful state of wetness.
Rumour of a convoy today.  We had tea at the same place Matron and I did at Villainville.  The brother of the man there had been home on leave from Verdun.  Of his section of 180 only 5 are left.  Another man home on leave wrote after he got back to say while he was away all the rest of his section fell.  So leave saved his life that time.  Once at Verdun they were 3 days without rations.  They must have been done up!

June 18. The air is vibrant with the awe and excitement of the great Advance. The well men are being hurried back to duty, the others sent to England. So that all along the lines the hospitals, from Base Generals to Clearing Stations, are prepared and standing by to receive any number of the poor fellows who must inevitably (it seems to us) suffer.
We are all waiting breathless for Joffre to give the word of command to advance and attack – and that may be any day, may even have been given. We shall soon know. [General Joseph Joffre (1852-1931), the French general. See: http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/people_joffre.html. Ed] 

These extracts can be seen in full on this page: http://anurseatthefront.org.uk/the-diaries-all-four-volumes/the-diaries-volume-3/.  Later on in that volume there are many references to German soldiers and wounded.

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