The remarkable wartime diary of nurse Kathleen Johnstone.
The second world war could not have been won without the bravery and selflessness of women on the Home Front. Women like Kathleen Johnstone. This first-hand story of one extraordinary but unheralded member of Britain's 'Greatest Generation' brings home with extraordinary lucidity and compassion the realities of wartime Lancashire.
In 1943, Kathleen, then thirty, was a nurse-in-training at the Blackburn Royal Infirmary. For the next three years she kept a meticulous diary of her day-to-day existence, leaving behind a vivid record of the real-time concerns of a busy, thoughtful woman on the frontline of the war at home. Kathleen's days were never the same.
She writes in clear and lively prose about life in the hospital: of her fellow nurses, her patients, about death and dying, and the progress of the war as wounded soldiers returned from Normandy in the summer of 1944. She muses on being working class, wartime austerity, and her anxiety about examinations. Here too are dances, Americans and a POW boyfriend in Germany.
Kathleen's observations are witty, wry and astute – but above all relatable, even today. Poignant and engrossing, Kathleen Johnstone's tale of trauma, romance and friendship will leave a lasting impression.