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