Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Rosaleen Graves

I have just received a reply to the query I sent to The Red Cross Archives in London regarding Rosaleen Graves, sister of the WW1 soldier poet and writer Robert Graves.   Having read Rosaleen's poem "The Smells of Home", I was certain that Rosaleen was writing from first-hand experience.

Rosaleen volunteered as a VAD during the First World War.  She joined the service on 17th September 1915 and trained at a hospital in Chislehurst, Kent.   After service in hospitals in London, Rosaleen was posted on 25th November 1917 to No. 54 Hospital in France, which was in Wimereux.  She remained there until 14th March 1919.   After the war, Rosaleen trained as a doctor and worked as a GP in Devon.   The Imperial War Museum in London have a recording of Rosaleen talking about her wartime experiences.

No. 54 Hospital in Wimereux was one of the Base Hospitals known as "London General Hospital" and was in operation from July 1917 until May 1919.

You can find a comprehensive description of the Base Hospitals in France and elsewhere during the First World War, by following the link http://www.1914-1918.net/hospitals.htm

Rosaleen's poem "The Smells of Home" was first published in "The Spectator" on 30th November 1918 and  is included in "The Winter of the World Poems of the First World War", edited by Dominic Hibberd and John Onions, published by Constable and Robinson Ltd., London, 2007.

My grateful thanks to The Red Cross.