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A Very Private Diary A Nurse in Wartime by Mary Morris
  

A Very Private Diary A Nurse in Wartime

Biography / Autobiography   

RRP £14.99

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Sue Baker's view...

You can read any number of memoirs by nurses following in the footsteps of Jennifer Worth but this one I really recommend, a compelling diary of a nursing career undertaken during and after World War Two. Her diary is almost continuous following her career from Guys to Tunbridge Wells to Woolwich and on to service abroad in Normandy, Belgium and Germany. Diary keeping was forbidden but Mary Morris cheerfully carried on, reading her diary I grew to like her a lot, she has enormous empathy for her patients, disregards the notions of the time that forbad talking and listening to patients and must have helped so many get well again through her understanding and sympathy. She witnessed many horrors, the worst of which, rats killing a baby at Woolwich hospital, German POW’s sent for nursing when they were far gone with starvation and ill-treatment were hushed up. There is a lighter side to this darkness, her outgoing personality won her many male admirers and they add spice to the diaries as we wonder which one will attain the prize, I betted on Victor but it was Malcolm who won her heart in the end!

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Synopsis

A Very Private Diary A Nurse in Wartime by Mary Morris

Mary Mulry was eighteen years old when she arrived in London from Ireland to begin training as a nurse. The year was 1939. She had hoped for an adventure and a new start; she could not have predicted what the next seven years would bring. In this extraordinary diary Mary recorded in intimate detail her experiences as a nurse on the Home Front and later working on the frontline in Europe. In London, she nursed critically ill children during bombing raids and narrowly escaped with her life in one the worst nights of the Blitz. In Normandy, arriving on the heels of the D-Day invasion, she tended to Allied soldiers and German prisoners of war. In war-torn Belgium, she witnessed harrowing casualties from the Battle of Arnhem. Yet romance, glamour and adventure were never far away for Mary, even if her relationships often had to be cut short.

Reviews

Mary Morris's absorbing diary is a tonic to so many outsized histories of the second World War by those who had not been there. ...In pithy, occasionally sardonic entries, Morris builds a picture of the pity of war and, above all, the moral and material ruins of post-Hitler Germany, where she danced the nights away in Allied officers clubs but also got to know the stench of diphtheria ( so foul and sickly ) and gangrene. The scenes of horror and distress she recorded are leavened by childhood reminiscences of the Connemara coast and the glories of whiskey fruit cake. -- Ian Thomson THE IRISH TIMES Keeping a diary during active service was forbidden, so this book offers a rare insight into the important roles of nurses, both on the Home Front and the frontline during the Second World War from their own viewpoint. -- Verity Rogers WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE Diaries transport us back to the events they describe with a vividness other sources cannot match. This diary, recently discovered in the archives of the Imperial War Museum, was kept by Irish nurse Mary Morris to record her experiences during and after the Second World War. Her strength of character and spirit shine through. ...day and night she faced the grim experience of nursing battle casualties. The constant hunger from insufficient rations, catching diphtheria, and being injured by shrapnel failed to daunt her. -- John Adams NURSING STANDARD Throughout it all, Mary's sense of humour and her high spirits rarely failed ... Mary is a talented writer and a humane observer of her remarkable experiences. Her diary is full of vivid, sometimes shocking vignettes ... [A] fascinating and deeply moving book -- Jane Shilling DAILY MAIL A remarkable work ... [Mary] was a lucid observer of some of the most cataclysmic events in history -- Ronan McGreevy IRISH TIMES


About the Author

Mary Morris (nee Mulry) was born in County Galway in 1921. After completing her nursing training in London from 1939, she joined the Queen Alexandra Imperial Nursing Service Reserve in 1944. She married Captain Malcolm Morris in London in 1946, and they settled in Britain after the war. Mary later returned to nursing and never stopped writing. She died in 1997, and is survived by four children and eight grandchildren. Carol Acton is Associate Professor of English, St Jerome's University at the University of Waterloo, Ontario specialising in war writing, especially autobiographical works. She discovered Mary's diaries in the Imperial War Museum archives.

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Book Info

Publication date

12th June 2014

Author

Mary Morris

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Publisher

Weidenfeld & Nicolson an imprint of Orion Publishing Co

Format

Hardback
320 pages

Categories

Memoirs
Nursing
Social & cultural history
Diaries, letters & journals

ISBN

9780297871552

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