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Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Base Hospital 46 Nurses' Infirmary

Base Hospital 46 nurses went to France to care for wounded and sick soldiers in the First World War. But they also became ill themselves. This was especially true in the fall of 1918 when the global influenza pandemic hit the unit.

Otis Wight's On Active Service with Base Hospital 46 describes the Nurses' Infirmary as a refuge and place of healing. The accompanying image shows the beds empty, obviously cleared for the picture, and decorations for the winter holidays.
"Nurses Ward," Wight, On Active Service With Base Hospital 46, p. 154.

The text suggests that imagining sick nurses was something of an afterthought for the American Expeditionary Force. "Apparently" Uncle Sam "forgot that they, as well as the men have their illnesses." Using a "section of one of the buildings" staff furnished the infirmary with linoleum, wallpaper, chairs and rugs "until the place actually had a home-like appearance."

"The Nurses' Infirmary," Wight, On Active Service With Base Hospital 46, 154.

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