Throughout her time as a nurse in France and Belgium during the First World War, Kate wrote countless letters to her family some of which were published in book form.
‘Diary of a Nursing Sister on the Western Front 1914-1915’, published anonymously by William Blackwood and Sons in 1915, describes the author’s time working on the ambulance trains in France. This received ecstatic reviews:
‘It is the most vivid and the most painful description of life and death at the Front that has been printed, and at the same time the most buoyantly cheerful. It is a thrilling story, written evidently without exaggeration……a trained nurse has jotted down in this diary a story of suffering and brave endurance which cannot be read unmoved’.
‘This little collection of letters written home with never a thought of publication, is worth dozens of more pretentious war-books’.
Subsequently ‘Unknown Warriors; Extracts from the Letters of K E Luard, R.R.C. Nursing Sister in France 1914-1918’ was published by Chatto & Windus in 1930 but has long been out of print.
A new edition of Unknown Warriors was published by The History Press in August 2014, exactly as the 1930 text but with the addition of an introduction co-authored by Christine Hallett, Professor of Nursing History at the University of Manchester, and Tim Luard, great-nephew of Kate Luard, and with a postscript which includes unpublished letters both from Kate to her family and those to her in France; also a glossary and indexes.
Hardback, illustrated @ £16.99. Available from local bookstores and online from Waterstones, Amazon and the Book depository.