Japanese Red Cross Nurses who inspired creation of NHS celebrated in new paper

During World War I, a group of Japanese Red Cross nurses travelled from their Far Eastern homeland to offer their services at Royal Victoria Military Hospital in Netley.

The 20-strong team, many of whom had never travelled outside of Japan, spent a year at the Netley hospital, supporting their British counterparts, to attend to the thousands of soldiers wounded in the bloody battles of the war.

To honour this unique group, the Hampshire Paper series, in association with The Japan Society, has produced a new issue: The Japanese Red Cross at Netley, 1915-16, which was recently launched at a special event held in the Empire Room at Royal Victoria Park, the site of the old hospital.

Written by Dr Gordon Daniels, a retired lecturer at Sheffield University, the new Hampshire Paper documents the impact these nurses had on the war effort and how the project was the inspiration behind the establishment of the National Health Service.

Speaking at the launch event, Dr Daniels said: “I think it is fair to say that the First World War still has a great grip amongst the public and across the nation. Yet there are still certain forgotten episodes of the war, this [Japanese Nurses] being one of them, which I think deserves to be brought to the public attention, hence why I decided to write this paper.”

The Japanese Red Cross at Netley, 1915-16 by Dr Gordon Daniels is available by visiting http://www.hantsfieldclub.org.uk/publications/hampshire-papers.html  It is priced £6 for Hampshire Field Club members and £8 for non-members, with p&p at £2 to be added.

Photo Caption: Celebrating the launch of The Japanese Red Cross at Netley, 1915-16 (from left to right) author Dr Gordon Daniels, Miyuki Morioka from The Japan Society and Mayor of Eastleigh, Cllr Des Scott.

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