One hundred years ago a group of Japanese Red Cross nurses travelled from their Far Eastern homeland to offer their services at Royal Victoria Military Hospital in Netley in Eastleigh, at the height of World War 1.
The 20-strong team, many of whom had never travelled outside of Japan, spent a year at the Netley hospital, supporting their British counterparts, to attend to the thousands of soldiers wounded in the bloody battles of the war.
To honour this unique group, the Hampshire Paper series, in association with The Japan Society, has produced a new issue: The Japanese Red Cross at Netley, 1915-16, which was recently launched at a special event held in the Empire Room at Royal Victoria Park, the site of the old hospital.
Written by Dr Gordon Daniels, a retired lecturer at Sheffield University, the new Hampshire Paper documents the impact these nurses had on the war effort and how the project was the inspiration behind the establishment of the National Health Service.
THE BRITISH RED CROSS IN THE FIRST WORLD WAR© IWM (Q 70498)
Speaking at the launch event, Dr Daniels said: “I think it is fair to say that the First World War still has a great grip amongst the public and across the nation. Yet there are still certain forgotten episodes of the war, this [Japanese Nurses] being one of them, which I think deserves to be brought to the public attention, hence why I decided to write this paper.”
THE MEDICAL SERVICES ON THE HOME FRONT, 1914-1918© IWM (Q 54152)
■ The Japanese Red Cross at Netley, 1915-16 by Dr Gordon Daniels is available by visiting Publications, Hampshire Field Club & Archaeological Society. It is priced £6 for Hampshire Field Club members, and £8 for non-members, with p&p at £2 to be added.
The Hampshire Papers, originally produced by the Hampshire Records Office, are edited by the University of Winchester. The aim of the series is to produce a paper that is academically researched and written in a way to engage the widest audience. Each paper is connected to the history and heritage of Hampshire.
The Japan Society
The Japan Society is based in London and is the leading independent body in the United Kingdom dedicated to the enhancement of the British-Japanese relationship. With a history stretching back to 1891, its members are committed to promoting deep and lasting understanding between our two countries.
(Source: Eastleigh Borough Council)
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