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Mary Mulry was eighteen years old when she arrived in London from Ireland to begin training as a nurse. The year was 1939. She had hoped for an adventure and a new start; she could not have predicted what the next seven years would bring. In this extraordinary diary Mary recorded in intimate detail her experiences as a nurse on the Home Front and later working on the frontline in Europe. In London, she nursed critically ill children during bombing raids and narrowly escaped with her life in one the worst nights of the Blitz. In Normandy, arriving on the heels of the D-Day invasion, she tended to Allied soldiers and German prisoners of war. In war-torn Belgium, she witnessed harrowing casualties from the Battle of Arnhem. Yet romance, glamour and adventure are never far away for Mary, even if her relationships often had to be cut short. 'I always seem to be saying good-bye to men whom I might have loved had there been enough time,' she writes. Nurses were not allowed to keep diaries on active service, but Mary - fortunately for us - was not one for following rules. Her rebellious spirit, sharp wit and irrepressible personality shine through the pages of her 'very private diary', published now for the first time.
About the Author
Mary Mulry moved to London in 1940 to begin her career as a nurse and kept her diary in spite of strict rules against such diaries being kept while on duty. After the birth of her four children, Mary returned to nursing in Brighton in the 1960s. She and her husband Malcolm, whom she met at the end of the war, eventually settled in the Wye Valley and remained happily married for over fifty years until Mary's death in 1997. Her wartime uniform and diaries are now held in the Imperial War Museum, London, and are published here for the first time. Carol Acton is Associate Professor of English, St Jerome's University at the University of Waterloo, Ontario with a research area in war writing, especially autobiographical works. She is the author of Grief In Wartime: Private Pain, Public Discourse and Working In A World Of Hurt, a book on medical personnel, war and trauma with Dr Jane Potter from Oxford Brookes University. She discovered Mary's diaries in the Imperial War Museum archives.
Mary Morris's absorbing diary is a tonic to so many outsized histories of the second World War by those who had not been there. ...In pithy, occasionally sardonic entries, Morris builds a picture of the pity of war and, above all, the moral and material ruins of post-Hitler Germany, where she danced the nights away in Allied officers clubs but also got to know the stench of diphtheria ("so foul and sickly") and gangrene. The scenes of horror and distress she recorded are leavened by childhood reminiscences of the Connemara coast and the glories of whiskey fruit cake. -- Ian Thomson THE IRISH TIMES Keeping a diary during active service was forbidden, so this book offers a rare insight into the important roles of nurses, both on the Home Front and the frontline during the Second World War from their own viewpoint. -- Verity Rogers WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE Diaries transport us back to the events they describe with a vividness other sources cannot match. This diary, recently discovered in the archives of the Imperial War Museum, was kept by Irish nurse Mary Morris to record her experiences during and after the Second World War. Her strength of character and spirit shine through. ...day and night she faced the grim experience of nursing battle casualties. The constant hunger from insufficient rations, catching diphtheria, and being injured by shrapnel failed to daunt her. -- John Adams NURSING STANDARD Throughout it all, Mary's sense of humour and her high spirits rarely failed ... Mary is a talented writer and a humane observer of her remarkable experiences. Her diary is full of vivid, sometimes shocking vignettes ... [A] fascinating and deeply moving book -- Jane Shilling DAILY MAIL A remarkable work ... [Mary] was a lucid observer of some of the most cataclysmic events in history -- Ronan McGreevy IRISH TIMES
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: 10th June 2014
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.4 x 13.7 x 2.3
Weight (kg): 0.35
Edition Number: 1