Category Archives: WW1

Funeral of a Red Cross nurse at Etaples Cemetery during WW1

Purely by chance, I came across a small collection of images via the National Library of Scotland website which show the ‘Funeral of a Red Cross nurse, Western Front, during World War I.’ The three photographs of the funeral are attributed to Tom Aitken, a newspaper photographer from Glasgow who was assigned in December 1917 as a war photographer.

In spite of the huge numbers of men killed during the war, these photographs suggest that there was still an element of shock at the death of a woman, especially a nurse.

 

Photographs are published under Creative Commons courtesy of the National Library of Scotland:

1. The funeral procession is shown walking down a road, with the coffin on a wheeled cart pulled by two soldiers. Nurses follow behind. The kilted Scottish soldier at the front appears to be a bugler as the instrument can just be seen at his right side in two of the photographs. 60 N.488

2. In this photograph the procession can be seen moving down into the cemetery. The coffin is covered by the Union Jack flag. The sand dunes in the background suggest this was near the sea. The hospitals, many of which were near the coast, were vulnerable when the Germans bombed the ports and coastal transport systems. 61 N.490

3. Soldiers lowering the coffin of a Red Cross nurse into a grave. Other nurses stand around holding wreaths and a bugler is waiting at the head of the grave. 62 N.491