The first world war diaries of Emma Duffin
The speakers, who drew on papers held in PRONI were:
- Ian Montgomery on ‘Sources in PRONI for Ireland in the First World War’
- Ann McVeigh on ‘Women in the First World War’
- Brett Irwin on ‘Lady Londonderry and the First World War’
- Trevor Parkhill on ‘Emma Duffin, Belfast Voluntary Aid Detachment Nurse’
The conference was followed by the launch of The First World War Diaries of Emma Duffin, Belfast Voluntary Aid Detachment Nurse edited by Trevor Parkhill (Four Courts Press, 2014).
The diaries of Emma Duffin, born in Belfast, educated at Cheltenham Ladies College, vividly describe her experiences as a Voluntary Aid Detachment nurse caring for wounded soldiers brought directly from the battlefield.
She served in northern France from immediately before the Battle of the Somme to the Armistice in 1918. She had spent a year in Germany just before the war and what makes her observations all the more poignant is her ability to communicate, more sympathetically than her colleagues, with hospitalised German prisoners.