Farmborough, Florence (Oral history)

Catalogue number
  • 312
Department
Sound
Production date
1975
Subject period
Dimensions
  • whole: Duration 250, Number Of Items 17
Alternative names
  • object name: Oral history
  • object category: IWM interview
Creator
Category
sound

© IWM

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Object description

British civilian governess in Russia, 1908-1914; nurse with Russian 10th Field Surgical Otryad, Imperial Russian Army on Eastern Front, 1914-1916

Content description

REEL 1 Background in Aylesbury area, GB, 1887-1906: family; education; early interest in travel. Aspects of period as governess in near Stanislau, Galicia, Austro-Hungary, 1906-1908: initial impressions of Carpathian Mountains; work as governess. Recollections of period as governess in Russia, 1908-1914: desire to go to Russia; background to going to Russia, obtaining position as governess in Kiev; description of the annual ceremony of the Blessing of the Waters on River Dneipr at Kiev . REEL 2 Continues: attitude of Russians to her as an English woman; move to Moscow; description of Easter celebrations in Russia; registration with police; learning Russian language; relations with family. REEL 3 Continues: modes of speech used in Russia; effects of Revolution on language; forms of address with patients whilst nurse during First World War; social activities with Russian family; nature of friendship with Russians; character of domestic staff and peasants; father of family’s medical practise; status of women. REEL 4 Continues: state of health of families in GB and Russia; degree of awareness of political situation; Russian attitudes towards Czar and Imperial Family; reading Russian literature; opinion of Fyodar Dostoyevsky; status of Russian writers; cultured character of Russian society. REEL 5 Continues: dancing and attending opera; attitude to poverty witnessed; desire to travel; summer holidays with family in countryside; lack of awareness of coming war; reaction to hearing of declaration of First World War, 8/1914; degree of awareness of causes of war; reasons for deciding to stay in Russia and nurse; opinion that Germans friends didn’t want war. REEL 6 Continues: opinion of German women. Recollections of period as nurse with 10th Field Surgical Otryad, Russian Imperial Army on Eastern Front, 1914-1916: question of nature of warfare; Russian attitudes towards Germans and Austro-Hungarians; opinion of male medical orderlies; character of young recruits to Imperial Russian Army; underage recruits. REEL 7 Continues: prior recollection of visit by relative who served in Boer War; burial of corpse with sugar on eyelids; work of unit chaplain; lack of time to administer last rites; degree of care for mortatily wounded; selection process amongst seriously wounded; awareness of mortaly wounded about their fate; injections and sedatives used. REEL 8 Continues: logistical supply; setting up of mobile hospital; use of motor ambulances; qualifying as surgical sister; illiteracy amongst peasants in Russia and effect of education during visit to Soviet Union, 1962; lifestyle of peasants in Russia and opinion of the treatment they received. REEL 9 Continues: types of wounds dealt with; supplies available to mobile hospital; problems during retreat in 1915; how seriously wounded were left behind during retreat, 1915; solution used to wash wounds; importance of cleaning wounds; evacuation of less badly wounded; selection of wounded for evacuation. REEL 10 Continues: nature of surgical operations; state of wounded arriving at mobile hospital; problems of finding location for men to sleep; facilities to sterilise bandages; facilities to wash clothes and bathe; problems with lice and use of tobacco to deter them; removal of filthy uniforms and body coatings from wounded Turkish POWs. REEL 11 Continues: huge number of wounds dealt with during retreat, 1915; reaction to sights on former battlefields during advance of 1916; retreat from Grodno; setting up hospital on move; medical orderlies; question of acts of self-sacrifice during retreat, 1915. REEL 12 Continues: character of Cossacks; accuracy of German shelling; attitude of Russian towards her speaking to wounded German POW; how patients and fellow medical personnel behaved towards her; obtaining war news. REEL 13 Continues: description of photographic activities; financial matters; how wounded patients told her about experiences in front-line; awareness of mortality wounded patients of their fate; reaction to having to ignore the dying to help the living; dealing with stomach wounds; incident of giving water to patient dying of stomach wound; importance of giving injections. REEL 14 Continues: question of giving patients morphine; effects of ‘dum dum’ bullet wounds; effects of heavy shelling; attitude of working in proximity to front; instances of waiting for marching orders during retreat of 1915; leaving wounded behind during retreat; contrast between Austro-Hungarian and Russian trenches. REEL 15 Continues: question of poorer quality of Russian trenches; behaviour of Germans towards Austro-Hungarians; attitude of Russian troops towards Germans; photographing trenches; impressions of Carpathian Mountains; opinion of heroism of Russians troops; Russian troops’ carrying icons as talisman. REEL 16 Continues: question of heroism in warfare; instance of wounded Tartar patient who refused to have his leg amputated; use of Tartar drivers; cooking provisions for unit; sharing rations with troops; eating earwig soup; patience of the ordinary Russian soldier. REEL 17 Continues: psychological cases; cases of self-inflicted wounds; loss of veteran Russian troops during retreat of 1915; character of younger and underage recruits by 1916.

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