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The roses of no man's land.

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About this work


Engrossing documentary about the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) nurses of the First World War. The programme centres around the oral reminiscences of former nurses of this era who talk about their wartime work in hospitals in Britain, France and Belguim. The VADs were unpaid so were mostly recruited from the middle and upper classes, meaning a sharp contrast between their (often sheltered) home lives and their work duties. Among the subjects discussed are gangrene (including use of maggots to clear gangrenous flesh), amputation, the dressing of wounds, crowded and primitive conditions of casualty clearing stations a few miles from the Front, driving ambulances between stations, supporting patients suffering from shell-shock or war neuroses and creating a more friendly and light-hearted atmosphere than some matrons decreed. Their memories are well-illustrated by archive footage and photographs. The programme concludes that the ladies of the VAD made an immeasurable contribution to the recovery of a generation of young men blighted by the physical and mental carnage of the First World War.


United Kingdom : Channel 4 TV, 1997.

Physical description

1 video cassette (VHS) (60 min.) : sound, color, PAL

Creator/production credits

Produced by Steve Humphries.

Copyright note

Testimony Films for Channel 4 Television.



  • English

Where to find it

  • LocationStatusAccess
    Closed stores

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