Research Notes – The Great War (14) The Injured

My current work in progress is a historical novel set partly during the years of World War One. In order to write the time accurately, I’ve been reading and researching the subject extensively.

The casualty figures for this four year-long conflict are staggering. Forty million casualties, 15-19 million of which were deaths, 23 million wounded. But numbers, when they get too large tend to lose their meaning. When you put a face (literally) to the fallen, the injured, the mutilated, it has far more impact. These disfigurements to the face were especially cruel, changing the single most important way humans physically identify themselves; the way we recognize ourselves in the mirror and the way we present ourselves to the outside world.

The surgeons did their best to patch up these horrible wounds, but techniques were primitive and faces and bodies could never be returned to normal. The following short video tells the story of one woman who gave these men hope.

Header Image: The Wounded Soldier; Otto Dix 1916

28 thoughts on “Research Notes – The Great War (14) The Injured

  1. Such staggering numbers of deaths and injured. I recall hearing relatives speak of one of the Uncles suffering from ‘shell shock’ from World War One, and how he was returned a stranger to even himself. The responses to his return, the subsequent behavior and his appearance ranged from fear of him to protecting him, compassion or insider jokes of his latest escapades. While his experience in the War appeared to have influenced his entire rest of his life, I was told he never ever spoke of those actual experiences. Seems at some point humans would stop slaughtering and ruining one another.
    Interesting post. Thank you.
    Wishing you the best with your writing and research.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a different time; the effects of war not well understood, especially in the realm of mental health. We’ve come a long way in treating it … except for preventing it in the first place.

      So glad you found it interesting. Thank you so much!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Fascinating Meg. Thank you. There have been so many throughout the years who have dedicated their lives to helping others in this sort of way. The techniques developed have surpassed all expectations, and improvements are still being made now. Such a pity that it takes horrors such as WW1, or any conflict, to feed development of medical procedures, and, indeed, technological advances (including how to kill more people with reduced risk to the killer!)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It really was amazing work she did. I wish someone had been around in 1854 to do something like that for my cousin, who accidentally shot away part of his face. It’s astonishing he even survived, but to have to show that face for the next 11 years of his life must have been awful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness! I can’t even imagine how difficult that would be. It’s really amazing how much of your family history you’re aware of or have uncovered…. mine is largely lost to me. I’m an only child of an only child and have no first cousins and the extended branches of the family are mostly deceased!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can believe it! A second cousin on my father’s side did some research on that branch… I should look into it. I can see myself getting carried away!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Mandibelle16 and commented:
    Meg has been doing some amazing WWI research for her book. This piece particularly struck me along with a video about a woman who aided those mutilated and disfigured in the trenches.

    Liked by 1 person

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