In a University in the Scottish city of Dundee, researchers found a battered old suitcase containing WWI memorabilia belonging to a mysterious nurse called Margaret Maule. The researchers looked through her belongings, which contained photographs, letters, autographs, newspaper articles, syringes, and other medical equipment. What they had found was a veritable gold mine of WWI nursing ephemera. However, what they did not know was how the suitcase got to the university or who Margaret Maule really was or where she served in the First World War.
The researchers were able to pinpoint some key dates in Margaret’s life relating to the death of her brother in 1917 and that she treated prisoners of war at Dartford War Hospital in Kent. England. Although no biographical information has been forthcoming about Margaret, the researchers assume she was a well-liked and popular nurse, as letters amongst her belongings were from French, German and English soldiers. These letters thanked her for her work in saving their lives and her jovial manner when she lifted their spirits through songs and theatrical acts. Margaret also served at an unnamed hospital at Glasgow, perhaps a clue to how her belongings ended up in Scotland. Margaret treated wounded soldiers from all battle fields, enemy and allied. It is clear that she saw these wounded men as people first and soldiers second.
What is known is that Margaret was born in Scotland in 1887 and joined the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Nursing Service (QUAIMS) at the outbreak of WWI in 1914. She trained at the Merryflatts Hospital in Glasgow between 1914 and 1917 before being transferred to Kent. After her war service little is heard of Margaret until 1969, when she finally retired at the age of 82, and after 52 years of service in the nursing profession. Researchers are trying to piece together her life before, during and after WWI and it shall be exciting finding out what became of Margaret after her heroic efforts in the Great War.