The Soldiers Remember
A History of southfield Auxiliary Military Hospital, Duns This book, published by Dunse History Society, describes in considerable detail the work of the southfield Auxiliary Military Hospital run by The Red cross for the convalescence of wounded soldiers during WW1.
It describes the early history of southfield House (now a community centre), its selection as a convalescent home for wounded soldiers and the background to Southfield and other Berwickshire Red cross Auxiliary Hospitals within the nationalframework for treating wounded soldiers. The book was published in July 201g with the help of a generous grant of f1800 from the Blackhill Windfarm Community Fund to supplement design and printing costs'
The book is based on papers kindly donated to the Dunse History Society, by Mrs Judy Murray of Currie. The papers relate to the Speedy family who lived in Berwickshire, and in particular to the diaries and records of Margaret Mary (May) Speedy, the youngest of their three daughters. May Speedy worked as a V.A.D. Nurse at Southfield during wW1. Nurse Speedy left accounts of her time at Southfield in two diaries in which she had her patients write down their army experiences. These accounts, of which there are 78, are transcribed exactly as they appear in the diaries. ln addition, Nurse speedy obtained a number of photographs which have been used to illustrate the book together with diary entries that she herself made of her day to day activities. Together with considerable additiona! information gathered from local and national records, the book provides a detailed and intimate account of life of recovering soldiers in a military convalescent hospital.
The importance of this book reflects the fact that after the War the great majority of hospital and medical records were destroyed. Only a representative selection, less thanZYo, were preserved. The Southfield records, whose existence was until recently not widely known, is therefore not only an important record of life in Berwickshire during a major conflict, it is also a document of national importance in the records of The Great War.
500 copies of the book, which runs to 160 pages, were printed and it is being sold at a cost of f 10. The total cost of publication was f2786 and to date about 150 copies have been sold with sales income at about f500 with the book account still in deficit.
An article was written for The Borders Family History Magazine and 3 reviews, from The QARANC Nursing Association, Robert Dunn and The Long Long Trail, are also attached.
We are most grateful to The Blackhill Windfarm Community Fund for the grant towards the publication. Any proceeds from the sale of the book once costs have been covered will be used to support the work of the Dunse History Society in various ways, including: preservation of local Berwickshire records, public lectures, exhibitions, restoration of the town bell.
Dunse History Society, january 2019