Soldiers' diaries reveal devilish side of First World War angels

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Nurses inflicted pain upon wounded soldiers in the First World War to a scandalous degree, according to new research.

Military hospitals have traditionally been portrayed as havens run by caring, if overstretched, staff but fresh evidence suggests that the experience of patients was very different.

Diaries written by injured working-class soldiers from the Somme to Gallipoli have revealed how they silently endured brutal treatment by the female military nurses, surgeons, physiotherapists and stretcher-bearers during the Great War.

Surgeons became hated figures depicted in hospital magazines as “Captain Hack” or “Captain Scalpel”. The female physiotherapists were “perpetrators of pain who resembled drill sergeants rather than bedside nurturers”.

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