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First World War nurse's diaries to go under the hammer

The diary of a volunteer nurse who died during the First World War is expected to attract international interest when it goes under the hammer.

The diary of a volunteer nurse who died during the First World War is expected to attract international interest when it goes under the hammer.

diary of first world war nurse

Archive material giving an account of the working life of Katy Beaufoy, a Devon-trained nurse and matron, is being auctioned on 22 August.

Her handwritten diary, photographs and medals will go under the hammer at Hansons Auctioneers in Derbyshire, with an estimated value £4,000 to £6,000.

Pages of history

Having volunteered in the Boer War, Ms Beaufoy again stepped forward to serve in the First World War.

She was posted to serve on board the vessel Ionian during the infamous Gallipoli campaign, witnessing horrific injuries.

A diary entry on 24 May 1915 reads: ‘I had a ward of about 50 beds, such bad, bad wounds, frightful head ones, legs and feet blown off and arms wounded of all sorts ......Have some very bad cases, two shot through the lungs, pouring out pus. One amputee had his foot blown off and part of his leg.'

War crimes at sea

She escaped death once when she took a break from the vessel ship, Dover Castle, due to illness – and the ship was torpedoed and sunk in May 1917.

However, on returning to work as a matron her vessel Glenart Castle was torpedoed by a German submarine, and she was lost, presumed drowned, in the sinking in February 1918. It was considered a war crime as the ship was clearly marked as a hospital ship.

Auctioneer Charles Hanson said: 'We are anticipating worldwide interest in this very special lot and I expect bidding to be brisk.'

 

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