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nicole

German nurses executed by the French?

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Does anybody have any evidence to substantiate or refute this? I realise that there were many claims of atrocities and that these were used as propaganda. Is this one real?

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Nicole

I think you will have to let us have a bit more info

Chris

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Does anybody have any evidence to substantiate or refute this? I realise that there were many claims of atrocities and that these were used as propaganda. Is this one real?

Hello Nicole

Just by asking this question you suggest that it could be exact that such atrocities existed in ww1!

What is your source please ?

Cordialement

Bruno

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The only nurse I know of who was executed by the Germans was Nurse Edith Cavell. This certainly happened and there is a statue to her not very far from Trafalgar Square. St. Martins Lane, perhaps?

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Just by asking this question you suggest that it could be exact that such atrocities existed in ww1!

Sorry but just asking a question does not suggest that such atrocities existed (or did not) - its just what it says a question. Asking did something occur is effectively neutral unless its expressed as a leading question. There was certainly much propaganda from both sides accusing each other of all sorts of things, sometimes propaganda is based on fact and sometimes it is total fabrication. Merely asking for evidence of which is which supports neither case.

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Here's what I could find:

http://www.channel4.com/history/microsites...dirtyhands.html

"Shortly after the Germans executed Edith Cavell, the French army executed two German nurses in similar circumstances."

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html...9669D946496D6CF

(Requires registration.) "SAY FRENCH EXECUTED TWO.; Inspired German Dispatch Names Women Killed at Nancy and Boniger." October 25, 1915

http://www.exulanten.com/mata.html

"In March and May of 1915, the British and French executed Margaret Schmidt and Ottilie Moss on charges of espionage for the Germans, and in August, 1916, they also executed a 'Mrs. Phaad.' There were no parades for them."

http://www.amiannoyingornot.com/(S(csehnk5...;collection=856

"The French executed two German nurses for the same offense of helping prisoners of war escape.

When asked why they never commented on the executions, a German propaganda officer said, 'The French had a perfect right to shoot them.'"

http://books.google.com/books?id=s9B5xrHXt...pwoKuUcNmY9gLXs

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in http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html...9669D946496D6CF it mentions Edith Cavell charged fees for her services that only rich people could afford. Was this the case? I had not realised German nurses were killed in similar circumstances, but it would appear the Germans saw this as acceptable.

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Clearly an opportunity for one of us to research the source documents.

Regards

John

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AmIAnnoying.com is worth a visit. Thank you Tom W. And there are no silly stupid or bad questions. Only answers.

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I recall reading some time ago reading that some tommies found the body of a French nurse killed on the front line when extending trenches that that they had taken over from the French. They reburied the body together with others they found, I wonder if this is well enough recorded for her to be identified.

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I recall reading some time ago reading that some tommies found the body of a French nurse killed on the front line when extending trenches that that they had taken over from the French. They reburied the body together with others they found, I wonder if this is well enough recorded for her to be identified.

Phil;

This story has about four levels of absolute vagueness and "urban legend" quality. Additionally, the chance of a French nurse being in the front lines are vanishing to nil. The French medical services were terrible, even according to Francophiles. The rates of death by gangrene in the French Army were several times that of the other major (western) combatants, and this was generally due to a lack of proper care, including in hospital. Nurses had better things to do than wander about the trenches. (I can give a concrete observation.) I have heard of a French doctor being beaten to death by French soldiers enraged about the lack of care. How safe would a female nurse be wandering about the front?

The Germans probably were on perfectly sound legal grounds to shoot Cavell, but it was extremely stupid, playing into the hands of the enormous Allied propaganda industry. If they were smart they would have granted her a pension and sent her on a paid vacation to Switzerland. (I am constantly reading contemporary WW I material from many countries in at least seven languages, hours a day, and there is absolutely nothing like the tidal wave of rubbish published in English by the western Allies, serving several very important war objectives vital to winning the war. It was vital to the war effort, but it has poisoned the history for the last 95 years. Interestingly, I don't see the rubbish written by the French in material published in French, while they cooperated actively in churning out the English language propaganda.)

Bob Lembke

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Bob, I see your point, there was also complaints from the tommies about the appalling state the French had left the trenches in. Also there was nothing to say the nurse was female, I just assumed that it was so.

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There seems little reason for a nurse of either gender to be in a front line trench. If one had somehow been there and killed, the body would not have been left there. It would have been taken back to the rear and buried.

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How safe would a female nurse be wandering about the front?

On the Belgian front at Pervyse, British nurse Elsie Knocker and her assistant Mairi Chisholm established a dressing station immediately behind the front line breastworks and not only frequently entered the front line positions to dispense medical assistance and comforts (hot drinks etc), but also regularly ventured out into No Man's Land to recover wounded men and downed airmen. According to Mrs Knocker (aka the Baroness de T'Serclaes), an understanding had been reached with the Germans, via an exchange of messages carried between the lines by a small dog, that she and Mairi would not be harmed provided they wore their nurse's headgear to identify themselves and did not attempt to recover anything of military value (eg. cameras from crashed aircraft).

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Would it be fair to describe that set up as unique, Mick?

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Some nurses did die "in action" There has been reported recently on a thread on this forum were hospitals close to the front line have been hit by shells and nurses were amongst the casualties. I do not no of any that are listed as missing however but if there is someone is bound to know.

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Siege Gunner's account is very interesting, but it involves English nurses and British troops. The original anecdote recounted a nurse found in French trenches. Some French troops, notably some of the colonial troops, were dangerous to anyone near them, whether French, military or civilian, and the Germans. I don't want to beat that to death, but I can support that from French and British sources. Has anyone heard of French nurses anywhere near the front lines?

Bob

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Siege Gunner's account is very interesting, but it involves English nurses and British troops. The original anecdote recounted a nurse found in French trenches. Some French troops, notably some of the colonial troops, were dangerous to anyone near them, whether French, military or civilian, and the Germans. I don't want to beat that to death, but I can support that from French and British sources. Has anyone heard of French nurses anywhere near the front lines?

An English nurse and her Scottish assistant, Bob – and the troops were Belgian, not British. As for those dangerous colonial troops ...

post-11021-1238150615.jpg

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Would it be fair to describe that set up as unique, Mick?

Pretty much, I think, Tom. Mrs Knocker started out with the Munro Ambulance Corps based in Furnes, but became convinced that men were dying needlessly for want of treatment and stabilisation before being transported to hospital, so she set up her own forward dressing station at Pervyse. She was, if you like, freelance, but was supported by the Belgian Red Cross. She and Mairi Chisholm also worked with British wounded at various times and both were awarded the MM.

Their story is told in The Cellar House of Pervyse - http://www.greatwardifferent.com/Great_War...ar_House_01.htm and Flanders and Other Fields (by the Baroness de T'Serclaes, formerly Mrs Elsie Knocker).

Note in the online version of The Cellar House that the names accompanying the first photograph are the wrong way round. Mairi Chisholm is on the left and Elsie Knocker on the right.

Flanders and Other Fields is not yet available online as it was not published until 1964.

Forum searches on the women's names or Pervyse will bring up earlier discussions.

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This is the nurse's house/dressing station at Pervijze :

1-1.jpg

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