Dramatised diaries of VAD nurse Sara Wilsdon in Egypt during WWI.
Writing The Century -
The Camel Hospital,
Inspired by the diaries of Sara Wilsdon
dramatised by Karen Brown
The series which explores the 20th century through the diaries and correspondence of real people:
Sara Wilson was a V.A.D (Voluntary Aid Detachment) nurse posted to Egypt in January 1918.
The drama charts her journey through three different military hospitals,one of which is a canvas hospital in the desert, where she meets and marries the love of her life.Her diary spans a tour de force period in Sara's life, when this young woman from a sheltered background encounters death and love.
Sara - Rebecca Callard
Mary - Jessica Blake
Matron - Jacqueline Redgewell
Italian boy - Peter Singh
American Officer - James Nickerson
Research consultant - Professor Alison Fell
Directed by Pauline Harris
Sara was a VAD Nurse (Voluntary Aid Detachment) a unit which provided medical assistance in time of war.
VADs like Sara were young women eager to "do their duty"..
Sara at 24 years of age travels from 'Connaught Hospital' Aldershot to '31 General Hospital' Cairo with 22 other nurses.
There she nurses the wounded and dying and sees the devastating effects of Typhus and Malaria on our troops.
And yet she writes with good humour and energy, a fresh and vivid voice, taking a wondrous interest in the beauty of the landscape and the country's exotic atmos.
Unfazed by danger she takes every opportunity to explore her surroundings.
In Cairo Sara finds out that her brother Newton has been killed in action.
She bears her grief quietly, continuing to do her duty and hiding it from the injured men in her care.
In July 1918, Sara is transferred to a tented hospital in the desert in Kantara.
There she meets and gradually falls in love with Ray Wilsdon.
Her diary documents her growing affection for him, his transition from friend to fiancee.
When the war ends in November Sara's devotion to duty continues.
Her soldiers are still being killed, dying of their injuries and typhoid.
She and Ray get engaged.
In May 1919 orders come through that Sara must transfer to the 'Citadel Hospital' Cairo where there are localised uprisings.
Sara asks to be be demobbed and is waiting to go home when Ray sends a wire asking her to marry him right away.
Sara is faced with a difficult decision whether to go back home or stay with Ray in Egypt.
Professor Alison Fell has published several articles and chapters on women and the First World War.
She is the co-editor with Christine Hallett of Visions and Revisions: Studies on First World War Nursing (London: Routledge, 2012) and is currently writing a book entitled Back to the Front: Women as Veterans in Interwar France and Britain.
She is also leading the Legacies of War 2014-2018 project at the University of Leeds, coordinating activities around the First World War Centenary - http://arts.leeds.ac.uk/legaciesofwar/.