• Date & Time:

  • Location:

    Royal Society of Edinburgh
    22-26 George Street
    EH2 2PQ

Nursing Stories from the First World War: a conversation with Dr Diane Atkinson

This event has passed

Dr Diane Atkinson, a well-known author of women’s history will read excerpts from and answer questions about her book Elsie and Mairi Go To War: Two Extraordinary Women on the Western Front, which focusses on nursing heroes during the First World War. This event will be accompanied by a small public exhibit to commemorate the centenary of the end of the war (in the RSE Reception 5–12 November 2018).

Elsie and Mairi Go To War charts the journey of a Scottish woman, Mairi Chisholm, and her English friend, Elsie Knocker, who volunteered to work as nurses on the front lines in Belgium. Known as the ‘Madonnas of Pervyse’ they treated thousands of wounded soldiers over four years and were awarded numerous medals for bravery. A statue commemorating the courage and commitment of these two British nurses now stands in Ypres, Belgium.

Come and listen to excerpts from Dr Atkinson’s book and join the conversation with nursing historian Dr Alison O’Donnell to discuss these once famous but now forgotten heroines of The Great War.

This event is part of a series of events remembering the Great War. Information about the series, including a small exhibition, is available here.


Dr Alison O'Donnell, retired nursing historian, University of Dundee


Dr Diane Atkinson, author and historian