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Edith Blake’s War Only Australian Anzac Girl nurse killed in action during WW1

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Edith Blake’s War Only Australian nurse killed in action during WW1 by Krista Vane-Tempest
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Story of the only Australian nurse killed in action during the First World War.
In the early hours of 26 February 1918, the British hospital ship Glenart Castle steamed into the Bristol Channel, heading for France to pick up wounded men from the killing fields of the Western Front. On board was 32-year-old Australian nurse, Edith Blake. Unbeknown to the ship’s company, a German U-boat lurked in the waters below.

When Edith Blake missed out on joining the Australian Army, she was one of 130 Australian nurses allotted to the British Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service in early 1915. Her first posting was in Cairo where she nursed soldiers wounded at Gallipoli. In Edith’s remarkable letters to her family back home, she shares her homesickness and frustration with military rules, along with the savagery of the injuries she witnessed in the operating theatre. Later, at Belmont War Hospital in Surrey, she writes of her conflicted feelings about nursing German prisoners of war even as battles on the Western Front raged and German aircraft bombed England.

In Edith Blake’s War, her great niece, Krista Vane-Tempest, traces Edith’s gripping story, from training in Sydney to her war service in the Middle East, England and the Mediterranean, and her tragic death in waters where Germany had promised the safe passage of hospital ships.

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