American women saved sick and wounded Doughboys during the First World War. But what do you know about them?
Here is a novel, historically researched, that tells a story all women will be proud of. HEROIC MEASURES by Jo-Ann Power is a critically acclaimed work, thoroughly documented, that tells a story of women who left home, when to do so was extraordinary. Here is the background and the new link to Jo-Ann's site on the USA's National World War One Centennial site!
|Jo-Ann and her husband in Chateau-Thierry|
on one of their research trips to American World War One battle sites.
When United States Congress declared war in April 1917, the United States had a standing army of only 200,00 men. To fight against a seasoned enemy in the war-torn trenches and forests of Europe, the country needed at least a million men—and a medical corps to care for their sick and wounded.
|Caring for wounded, Base Hospital Johns Hopkins Unit, France|
With only 403 nurses in the Army Nurse Corps [ANC] when the war began, the Surgeon General called for volunteers. Women in hospitals and private duty as well as many in training responded. Those already staffing hospitals could join the ANC through the Army’s newly established base hospital system and through the American Red Cross.
Beginning in 1917 through the end of the war a year and a half later, more than 22,400 American women left their homes and their families to join the Army Nurse Corps. Most had never traveled beyond their hometown. Few had ever visited a foreign land. More than 10,000 sailed from American ports amid blackouts through U-boat-infested waters. They slept in hammocks, trudged through knee-deep mud, lived in wooden barracks—and sometimes even washed their hair in their own helmets. Enduring rain and snow, disease and danger from bombardment, they nursed more than 320,000 American soldiers sick and wounded.
|The cover shows a British captain and an American flyer in proper uniforms!|
Both are characters, along with the heroine Gwen Spencer in the novel!
Buy Link to digital and print at Amazon
They worked in base hospital wards approximately 50 miles behind the front lines. Some worked in field hospitals closer to those in combat. Others worked in tents and bombed-out churches, their patients brought in on rickety ambulances and laid down on beds of hay. In mobile surgical units a mile or two from the advancing soldiers, they worked in teams with doctors to provide emergency treatment to critically wounded Doughboys. They treated soldiers with gunshot and shrapnel wounds, gangrene and septicemia, poison gas burns, infections like trench foot, exposure and “shell shock” that we now term PTSD.
For this service, these women held no rank. They received half what an Army private was paid. But like their male comrades in arms, they had volunteered for the duration of the conflict, however long that would last.
|Operating Room, nurses and doctors. National WWI Museum photo.|
At the start of American involvement, they worked twelve-hour shifts. By the war’s end as the fighting grew more intense and casualties multiplied, they often labored round the clock. Many suffered from exhaustion. Some fell ill themselves. Many died of pneumonia, ear infections, dreaded Spanish influenza and more. A few died in automobile accidents and air raids. None died of combat related injuries.
Most returned home and were discharged from the ANC. Many resumed their work in civilian posts. Twenty-seven nurses received United States service medals for their bravery and dedication. Dozens more received medals from Great Britain, France, Belgium and other allies.
|American cemetery at St. Mihiel, France where many nurses|
are buried. This is Jo-Ann's photo.
More than 200 nurses gave the ultimate sacrifice. Many remain in repose in foreign soil next to the men they fought to save. Beneath the same white marble crosses as their male comrades in our American cemeteries, they rest at peace beneath the lovely Linden trees.
In the 1980s, author Jo-Ann Power began to research in museums and archives the lives of these heroic women. In 2013, she published her historical fiction about a group of nurses who volunteered. HEROIC MEASURES is for sale in digital and print.
Yesterday, she inaugurated the section of the National World War One Centennial site about the Army Nurse Corps. World War I Army Nurse Corps Putting all her research to work in a new way for the Centennial Commission, Power recounts the nurses’ challenges, their exploits and their triumphs. Do marvel at their courage to travel so far and endure so much to salve the wounds of war, heal the sick and comfort the dying. Do applaud these women who, like others afterward, declared that war’s horrors must end—and that this conflict, this Great War, should be "the war to end all wars."
Read more about HEROIC MEASURES here.
Now, she invites anyone who has photos, letters, documents about a family member or friend or acquaintance to contact her so that she can put them up on the site for all Americans and everyone around the world to see, admire and honor.