Thursday, 20 August 2015

A Belgian Nurse in WW1 - Florina Flamma (1892 - 2000) - Belgian

Those of you who follow this weblog closely will know that I am trying to trace nurses of all nationalities to illustrate the global impact of the First World War.  Here, courtesy of William Bukcke and his Facebook Groups about the conflict, is a Belgian nurse:

Florina was born on 10th May 1892, the daughter of a Belgian artillery officer. In August 1914, Florina fled with her parents to Antwerp but when the city fell, they followed the Belgian Army first to Westhoek. When they reached Ostend, Florina volunteered to help with the evacuation of the wounded to Dunkirk. Florina travelled to France and trained as a nurse with the Belgian Red Cross.  She was assigned to the ambulance unit at "Porte de Gravelinnes" in the Nord Pas de Calais region near Dunkirk. 

In 1917, Florina married Camille Pirotte, a 22 year old Sergeant Major of the French 4th regiment of Engineers In 1917, Florina married Camille Pirotte, a 22 year old Sergeant Major of the French 4th regiment of Engineers (égiment_du_génie).
At around that time, she transferred to nurse at the Belgian Artillery hospital in Le Havre - "establishment d ' Artillery Belge Du Havre'. 

As WW1 ended, Florina was working in the Belgian Military Hospital in Aachen.

Florina and Camille had a son who died of Meningitis at the age of seven.  Florina Flamme died on 11th February 2000 in Gembloux at the age of 107.

French Military Nurses in WW1 - Elisabeth Jalaguier (1890 - 1918) - French

Juggling with kettles, buckets and bowls of boiled water during the Lancashire contaminated water crisis of August 2015, I am reminded of the sacrifices made by those who nursed during The First World War.  They travelled to all the war zones, suffered the most awful deprivations and saved many, many lives with precious little in the way of medical supplies. Many of them were killed during air raids or by shell fire or died having contracted some of the terrible diseases that were rife at the time.  I salute them all, no matter which country they were from and whether they were women or men.  

Sue Robinson of the Group Wenches in Trenches - The Roses of No Man's Land is organising memorials to the memory of those nurses.  To find out more visit 

Elisabeth Jalaguier was born in 1890 and trained as a French Red Cross nurse.  She became a military nurse in 1914 and in 1918 was sent to Pierrefonds, where there was a military hospital in the Hotel des Bains.    Pierrefonds is a small town in France on the D973 road, between Compiegne and Villers-Cotterêts.

The hospital was bombed (it is not clear whether it was shelled or whether this was an aerial bombardment) during August 1918 and Elisabeth was among those killed.  After the bombardment, a white stone was placed where Elisabeth was standing when she was killed.

Elisabeth was awarded the Legion d'Honneur by Georges Clemenceau on 30th May 1919.  In 1933, a collection was made by Dr. Ferrand, who had been in charge of the military hospital in Pierrefonds during the First World War, and a nurse known as 'Mother Perdon'.  A committee was formed to gather funds and the chairman was Albert Lebrun, at that time President of France.   The monument was finally put in place in 1955 where the white stone had been.  In 1996, the Union Nationale des Combttants sold the memorial to the Town of Pierrefonds.  It was restored and inaugurated on 12th Ocrtober 1996, when the Mayor explained that there are not many such memorials in France.   The bronze statue which you can see in the photograph at the base of the memorial stone, was made from a plaster sculpture by Maxime Real del Sarte, who fought and was wounded during WW1 and had an arm amputated.

Source:  Speech made by the Mayor of Pierrefonds during the dedication ceremony in 1996.

I followed up a post on William Bulcke's Facebook Page Women of World War One, where he posted a photograph of the memorial to the nurses who were killed while serving in France during the First World War.  Thank you William.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Commemorative Group 'Wenches in Trenches' seeks modern inspirational women

Here is a message from Sue Robinson, who runs the amazing WW1 commemorative Group 'Wenches in Trenches - the Roses of No Man's Land'.  Sue works extremely hard and does so much to keep alive the memory of the contribution of women to the First World War.  The Group is now looking for more members:

"Each year we organise a special WW1 women's commemorative event on the Somme and we are looking to recruit more females to join our little organisation.  We have meet ups and loads of fun. We just expect you to raise funds at least once a year with us. If you are interested email me at

Fund raised go towards memorials for ww1 nurses and VADS and other related causes. Thanks.  Sue Robinson"